Skip to main content

Full text of "Alumnae Magazine"

See other formats




^aoMPw, aOMpm/iC/, 

—D^. TH- tJtiMiuMi ("Im") XMcdl 

WeW^, /5 wee* /^•tt^^ ^wi'uC' »^ Pi>ie<*s^ / 9 7? - / 9 ?5 
j9tMuieM^ Vany ^:uUOmi', Oct^e^' 5, /99c 

Sweet Briar Alumnae Magazine • March 2001 • Vol. 72, No. 2 

Sweet Brior College Alumnoe Magazine (ISSN 
0039-7342). Issued four times yearly, foil, wirv 
ter, spring and summer by Sweet Briar College. 
Periodicols postage paid at Sweet Bnar, VA 
24595 and Lynchburg, VA 24506 

Send form 3579 to Sweet Briar College, Box E, 
Sweet Briar VA 24595 Telephone (804) 381- 

Sweet Briar Alumnae Magazine Policy 

Or>e of the objectives of the magazine is to present 
interesting, thoughtprovoking materiol Publication 
of material does not indicate endorsement of the 
outhor's viewpoint by the mogozine, the Alumnae 
Association, or Sweet Briar College The Sweel 
Briar Alumnoe Magazine reserves the right to edit 
and, when necessary, revise all material thot it 
accepts for publication. 
Contact us any timel 

Boxwood Alumnae House, Box £, Sweet Briar, VA 
24595, (804) 381-6131; FAX 804-381-6132; E- 
Moil- 1) (Office) olumnae@sbc,edu; 2] (Magazine) 
sbcmagazine@sbc edu 

Alumnae Associotion website address: 

hitp;// www.olumnae.sbc. edu 

Sweet Briar website address: www sbcedu 

The Alumnae Office Staff 

Louise Swiecki Zingoro '80, Director, 

Alumnoe Association, Managing Editor. Alumnae 

Ann MocDonold Carter '97, Associate Director 
Melissa Coffey f^itz '98, Assistont Director 
Joan Lucy, Assistont Director, Centenniol 

Sandra Maddox AH '59, Assistant to the Director 
Nancy Godwin Baldwin '57, Editor, A/umnoe 

Noreen Parker, Assistant Director, Assistont Editor 

& Closs Notes Editor. AJumnoe Magazine, 

Tour Coordinator 
Bonnie Seitz '0 1 , Alumnoe Computer 

Prcgrams Coordinator 
Jan Gardner. Executive Secretary 

Sweet Briar Alumnoe Mogozine Produdion 

Graphic design by Noncy Blockwell Morion 74, 
The Design Group, Lynchburg, VA 

3 Centennial Celebration Information 
ond Calendar 

6 Rosam Quae Meruit Ferat 

by Martha Lou Lemmon Stohlman '34 and 
Martha von Briesen '3 1 

7 The Past is Prologue 

by President Elisabeth S. Muhlenfeld 

1 Ghost Stories and Mysteries of 

Sv/eet Briar by Ann Marshall Whitley '47 

1 6 The PoM^er to Dream Rightly 

• }90\-}9} 6 by Margaret Banister 16 

When Grazers Were Mowers 1 9 

26 Friendly Strength and Beauty 

• 1916-1 926 by Edith Durrell Marshall '2 1 

36 Progress and Prestige • 1926-1936 

by Julia Sadler deColigny '34 

Campus life 38; Emily Jones Hodge '27: Back for Her 

73rd! 44 

46 Pitching In • 1936-1946 

by Joan De Vore Roth '4 1 

Thougfifs on the Forties 50; Eleonor Potts Snodgrass '48 
Shares Memories 52; Sweet Briar at the Beginning of 
World War II 54-57 

58 A New Consciousness • 1946-1956 

by Ann Marshall Whitley '47 

Eleanor Roosevelt's Informal Visit Snowballed Into a 
Major Event 59; Joanne Holbrook Patton '52 Remembers 
Significant People, Events 61; Helen Addington Passano 
'55 Lasting Impressions 64; PVD and Hazel Impact 
Sweet Brior, Both With Lasting Effect 67 

70 Yes, Virginia, There is a S^eet Briar 

• 1956-1966 by Byrd Stone '56 

The Fabulous Fifties: Nannette McBurneyCrowdus '57 
Puts the Era in Perspective 74; The Things That Matter: 
An Interview with Carol McMurtry Fowler '57 82; Mme. 
Indira Nehru Gandhi Speaks on Indian Democracy 83 

84 What Took So Long? 

by Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

86 Standing Up: Student Protesters 
Surprised SBC Administrators 

by Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

90 Thank You Mr. Newman: 

Reinterpreting the Will of Indiana 
Fletcher Williams 

by Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

Frank G. Davidson, Jr., SBC's Winning Legol Counsel 
Loved the Challenge 92 

1 00 The First: Marshalyn Yeargin '68 
Arrives On Campus 1 966 

by Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

104 Changes* 1966-1976 

by Nancy St. Clair Talley '56 

Elizabeth "Keedie" Grones Leonard '76: Important 
People and Memories 1 13; The Ewald Scholars 
Program: Oft to a Fine StartI 1 1 4; A Very Good Time: 
Dean Sims Remembers 1965-1974 1 15 

1 1 6 The Spring of '70 at Sweet Briar 

by Michael D. Richards 

Hard Rain: Professor Lee Piepho's First Year at SBC 121 

1 22 Big Man on Campus: A Look Back at 
the Whiteman Years 

126 Embracing Reality 1980-1989 

An interview with Dean Patt 126; President Fry; SBC's 
Second Century Starts Here 128; A Lifetime 
Commitment: Professor Kay Macdonald Puts President 
Fry's Message in Perspective 129; My Relationship with 
Sweet Briar Has been a Milestone 1 30; Dean Blair's 
Three Decades of Outstanding Progress 130; Events, 
People, and Programs 131; Sue Reid Slaughter Events 
132; Kudos Due 132; The Sweet Briar College 
Columbarium 133; The Dedication of the Anne Gary 
Ponnell Center 134; Reunion Wedding Bells 133; 
Turning Point 135; Dedication of the Florence Elston Inn 

136 Into Focus 1990-1999 

An interview with President Hill 1 36; The 1 993 Ewald 
Scholars Program: "American Indian Visions" 138; 
Sweet Briar Establishes First Women's College Chapter 
of Pre-Low Fraternity 139; Gala Celebration of $35 
Million Campaign 140; First Annual Conference / 
Reunion of Dynamic Black Sweet Briar Women 141; The 
Presidential Speakers Series 141 ; Straight from the 
Grapevine 142; White Oak Woods: A World-Class 
Ecology Laboratory 142; When I Think About Sweet 
Brior 143; Sweet Briar Dairy Closes 144; The Blizzard 
of '96 145; Sara Finnegan Lycett '61 : Chairman-Elect of 
Sweet Briar's Board of Directors 145; Sweet Briar in the 
News 146; Elisabeth S. Muhlenfeld: Ninth President of 
Sweet Briar College 148; Excellence in Teaching 149; 
Byrd's Nest 151; 1999 Reunion Dedication: 1949's 
Giving Us Wings 152; Nancy Hall Green '64 Pledges 
$5 Million for New Campus Center 152; Maya Angelou 
at Sweet Briar 153; Sweet Briar Named a Best College 
Value 154; October 1993: Dedications and New 
Additions 155; Mollie Johnson Nelson '64: Survival of 
the Fittest 155 

] 56 Visions Realized and Visions Yet 
to Come 2000 

Family Foundation's $5 Million Grant Celebrates Four 
Generations 156; New Florence Elston Inn and 
Conference Center Dedicated 157; "Technocracy in 
America" Symposium and the Center for Civic Renewal 
158; New National Survey 159; Most Wired 159; 
Michelo English '71 : Chairman of the Board, Sweet 
Briar College 160; Eleven Years and Two Presidents 
Later, SBC's "Interim" Dean Prepares to Return to the 
Classroom 161; A Resource That Cannot Be Replaced: 
Chaplain Lehman Retires in 2001 163; Body, Mind and 
Spirit: The '70s Revival of Athletics Lasts into a New 
Century 164; Connections Beyond Memory: Dorothy 
Jones Sales H '94 Links Sweet Briar's Past to the Present 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

SvNreet Briar 
Celebrates its 

When President 
Muhlenfeld first 
addressed the 
Centennial Commission in 
October, 1999 she marked 
Sweet Briar's Centennial as an 
opportunity to "...revel in all 
aspects of the College's histo- 
ry... highlight new institutional 
initiatives. . .hold a Celebration 
Gala and offer opportunities for 
local celebrations in club 
areas. . .and also to introduce 
events throughout the year 2001 
which have intellectual heft." 
Thanks to the efforts and guid- 
ance of the Centennial 
Commission and the on-campus 
Steering Committee, Sweet 
Briar's yearlong celebration of 
this important milestone in the 
life of the College promises all 
of these things and more. 

January launched our 
Centennial Year with the 2001 
Winter Forums, Civic 
Renewal in the United States: 
Americans ' Participation (or 
Lack Thereof) in Public Life. 
which explored the issue of 
renewing civic culture. As 
always, this lecture series was 
enlightening, this year featur- 
ing internationally-renowned 
scholars who have focused 
their research on civic partici- 
pation and its impact on civil 
society. They examined mod- 
em forms of public engage- 
ment and how such activity 
might transform the American 
polity as we know it. The lec- 
tures also included discus- 
sions of how citizens can con- 
tribute to renewing civic cul- 
ture at the community level 
and beyond. Theda Skocpol. 

Victor S. Thomas Professor of 
Government and Sociology, 
and director of the Center for 
American Political Studies at 
Harvard University, addressed 
Civic Engagement in 
American Democracy: From 
Membership to Advocacy — 
and Beyond on January 24; 
Melinda Baskin Hudson, sen- 
ior vice president of 
America's Promise — The 
Alliance for Youth, General 
Colin Powell's volunteer pro- 
gram, spoke on Civic 
Engagement and "America 's 
Promise " on January 3 1 . 
Morris Fiorina, one of a hand- 
ful of best-known scholars on 
the topic of civic renewal, 
professor of political science 
and a senior fellow of the 
Hoover Institution, Stanford 
University, closed the series 
with Participation and 
Representation in America: 
Old Theories Collide with 
New Realities. 

In early February, invita- 
tions to the April Gala were 
mailed, along with informa- 
tion and a full schedule of 
Gala events. April 21-22 
are the dates for the 
Centennial Celebration Gala. 
Plan to be here! Sally Ride, 
"America's First Woman in 
Space," joins us as our 
keynote speaker that Saturday 
afternoon, followed by the 
special Centennial Awards 
Ceremony honoring individu- 
als "who have had a signifi- 
cant impact on Sweet Briar 
College and/or the Sweet 
Briar community." The cele- 
bration day concludes with a 
festive Evening Gala, com- 

plete with music, dining, 
dancing, and even fireworks! 
On Sunday morning, a 
Centennial Chapel Service 
will be held. 

During May, the beauty of 
Spring at Sweet Briar brings 
Commencement and 
Reunion — both events even 
more special than usual 
because of the Centennial 
tlair. Preparations already are 
underway to welcome record 
numbers of alumnae and 
friends to campus to enjoy 
these happy times — and per- 
haps to take home some of 
the unique Centennial memo- 
rabilia items produced to rec- 
ognize Sweet Briar's lOO'" 
Birthday — for instance, a 
Centennial Logo shirt; a com- 
memorative clock; a brand- 
new 30-minute Centennial 

June: True to the pursuit of 
lifelong learning, June inau- 
gurates the exciting new sum- 
mer Alumnae College pro- 
gram at Sweet Briar. Two 
weeklong learning programs 
will be hosted by some of 
Sweet Briar's most dynamic 
and inspiring professors. 
Jonathan Green, chairman of 
our Music Department will 
lead Everything Old is New 
Again: Rebirth in 
Renaissance Italy June 10-15. 
David Orvos, chairman of 
Sweet Briar's new 
Environmental Studies 
Department and Linda Fink, 
chairman of our Biology 
Department, will co-chair the 
second Alumnae College, An 
Environmental Report Card — 
How Do We Score? June 24- 
29. Two of our popular 

Alumnae College travel 
adventures will be offered 
later in conjunction with these 

Centennial doesn't slow down 
there! September features 
a full lineup of events during 
the Fall Centennial Alumnae 
Council Weekend, September 
20-22. Thursday evening her- 
alds the opening of a special 
exhibition and symposium on 
the architecture of Ralph 
Adams Cram, Sweet Briar's 
premier architect. This is fol- 
lowed Friday with a walking 
tour and a panel discussion of 
the Cram architecture. 
Founders' Day, and a special 
keynote presentation by hon- 
orary degree recipient and 
Pulitzer Prize winner Doris 
Keams Goodwin. Highlights 
of Friday and Saturday also 
include the second annual 
Center for Civic Renewal 
symposium. And our students 
look forward to their own 
special Centennial Event in 
the Fall — a national band giv- 
ing a performance at a local 
club solely for Sweet Briar 
students and their guests. 

Regions and area alumnae 
clubs are encouraged to host 
their own events — one of the 
many ways in which members 
of the Sweet Briar family can 
be involved with the College 
and the Centennial in their 
hometowns throughout the 
year. We especially look for- 
ward to concluding our 
Centennial Year with a resur- 
gence of the traditional 
December 28 Sweet Briar 
Day celebrations with alum- 
nae clubs everywhere. 

Happy Birthday, 
SvN^eet Briar! 

March 2001 • 


^^ammfviyl - J)ea^e^ if, ^06 1 

Winter Forums 2001 — Civic Renev^al in the 
United States: Americans' Participation 
(or Lack Thereof) in Public Life, 

Co-chaired by Professor of Government Barbara Perry and 
Assistant Professor of Government Steve Bragaw 

January 24, 2001 

Civic Engagement in American Democracy: From 
Membership to Advocacy — and Beyond 
Professor Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of 
Government and Sociology, and director of the Center for 
American Pohtical Studies at Harvard University 

January 31, 2001 

Civic Engagement and "America 's Promise " 
Melinda Baskin Hudson, senior vice-president of America's 
Promise — The Alliance for Youth, a nonprofit organization 
dedicated to building the character of young people, founded 
and chaired by General Colin Powell 

February 7, 2001 

Participation and Representation in America: Old Theories 
Collide with New Realities 

Professor Morris Fiorina, professor of political science and a 
senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University 

April 19-22 

Board of Directors meetings/ Alumnae Association Board 

April 21-22 



April 21 

Lecture by Sally Ride, "America's First Woman in Space" 

Centennial Awards Ceremony 

Gala Reception, Dinner, Dancing, Fireworks 

April 22 

Centennial Chapel Service 

May 5 


May 11-13 

Reunion Weekend 

June 10-15 

Alumnae College Everything Old is New Again: 
Rebirth in Renaissance Italy 
Led by Associate Professor and Chairman of the Music 
Department Jonathan Green 

June 24-29 

Alumnae College, An Environmental Report Card — How Do 
We Score? 

Co-chaired by Associate Professor and Chairman of the new 
Environmental Studies Department David Orvos and 
Associate Professor and Chairman of the Biology 
Department Linda Fink 

September 20-22 

Centennial Alumnae Council Weekend 

September 20-21 

Symposium: Ralph Adams Cram: Dreams and Reality. 
Co-chaired by Professor of Art History Aileen Laing and 
Director of College Galleries and Arts Management Rebecca 
Massie Lane 

September 2 1 -22 Center for Civic Renewal 
Symposium, "Citizenship and Leadership for a New 

Co-chaired by Professor of Government Barbara Perry and 
Assistant Professor of Government Steve Bragaw 

September 21 

Founders' Day 

Keynote Address: Shared Memories: The Lessons of History 

by Doris Keams Goodwin, Honorary Degree Recipient 

October 10 

Special Centennial Celebration for Students: Band Event at 
Cattle Annie's, Lynchburg 

October 19-21 

Families' Weekend 

December 28 

Sweet Briar Day Centennial Celebrations in club areas 
around the country 

Centennial Celebrations/Events in Key Club 
Areas/Regions throughout the year 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 


Honorary Members: 

Former Chairmen of the SBC Board of Directors 

J. Bruce Bredin 
Walter Brown H'49 
Victor Henningsen 
Sara Fhmegan Lycett "61 
J. Wilson Newman 
Charles Prothro 

Board of Directors members 

Elizabeth Stanly Gates '63 
Nancy Hall Green '64 
Vaughan Inge Morrissette '54 
Elisabeth S. Muhlenfeld, President 
♦Kathleen Garcia Pegues '71 

(also President of the 

Alumnae Association) 

Alumnae Board members 

Diane B. Dal ton '67 
Linda C. DeVogt '86 
Gecilia A. Moore '88 

Alumnae/Parent members 

Marshalyn yi?arg/«-Allsopp '68 
Catherine Barnett Brown '49 
Flora Cameron Grichton '46 
Debby Dudman 
Maria Ward Estefania '69 
Elinor Ward Francis '37 
Kimberley McGraw Euston '92 
Laura Groppe '85 
Winbome Leigh Hamlin '58 
Donna Pearson Josey '64 
Mary Lee McGinnis McGlain '54 
Julia Gray Saunders Michaux '39 
Joanne Hoi brook Patton '52 
Patricia Powell Pusey '60 
Ann Morrison Reams '42 
Katherine Arnold Reed '64 
Judith Greer Schulz '61 
Allison Stemmons Simon '63 
Sandra Taylor '74 
Georgene Vairo '72 
Melissa Gentij Witherow '80 
Elizabeth Bond Wood '34 

Greenville, DE 
Madison, NJ 
Pelham Manor, NY 
Delta, PA 
Charlottesville. VA 
Wichita Falls, TX 

Vero Beach, FL 
Atlanta, GA 
Mobile, AL 
Sweet Briar College 
Warrenton, VA 

Milwaukee, WI 
Richmond, VA 
Dayton, OH 

Atlanta, GA 
Madison, NJ 
San Antonio, TX 
Oklahoma City, OK 
Chevy Chase, MD 
Bryn Mawr, PA 
New York, NY 
Houston, TX 
Dallas, TX 
Houston, TX 
Charleston, SC 
Richmond, VA 
Boston, MA 
Arlington, VA 
Lynchburg, VA 
Santa Fe, NM 
Lynchburg, VA 
Dallas, TX 
Richmond, VA 
Los Angeles, CA 
Memphis, TN 
Lynchburg, VA 

College Staff Members 

Ivana Pelnar-Zaiko, Vice President for Development and 

College Relations 

Louise Swiecki Zingaro '80, Director of the Alumnae 

Association, Chair of Centennial Events 

Joan Lucy, Centennial Coordinator, Assistant Director of the 

Alumnae Association 

Centennial Steering Committee 

Catherine Bost, Director of Publications 

Jackie Dawson, Director of College Events 

Nancy Herr, Assistant Director of Dining Services/Catering 

Aileen Laing "57, Professor of Art History 

Rebecca Massie Lane, Director College Galleries 

and Arts Management 
Mary Lou Merkt, Vice President for Finance 

and Administration 
Michael D. Richards, Hattie Mae Samford Professor of History 
Linda Shank, Executive Assistant to the President 
Tia Trout, Class of 2002 
Grace Turner, Class of 2001 
*Ivana Pelnar-Zaiko, Vice President for Development 

and College Relations 
*Louise Swiecki Zingaro '80, Director of the Alumnae 

Association and Chairman of Centennial Events 
*Joan Lucy, Coordinator of Centennial Events 

*Also sen>es on the Centennial Commission 

Quilting is an art that women of all classes, races, 
ethnic groups, and religions have practiced through- 
out history. Quilts have kept people warm, decorated 
homes, taught the croft of sewing, celebrated friend- 
ship, kept idle hands and minds busy, end strength- 
ened bonds of family and community. Quilts tell sto- 

We hope that alumnae, students, faculty, 
staff, and friends of SBC will create a quilt 
of stories to celebrate S>veet Briar's 

Individual quilt squares might portray SBC milestones, 
traditions, events, persons, clubs, experiences, and 
values shaping the College over its first hundred 
years: historical memories preserved for the future. 
The collected squares will be professionally pieced 

if you vs^ont to stitch a bit of Sw^eet Briar 
history, please send for full information and 
guidelines! Contact: Joan Lucy, Centennial 
Coordinator, Alumnae Office, Sweet Briar, VA 
24595. Phone: (804) 381-6165; FAX: (804) 381- 
6132; e-mail: 

March 2001 • 


et her who has earned it 
wear the rose" is the 
motto of Sweet Briar 
College, chosen by the first 
Board of Directors. Dr. John M. 
McBryde submitted to the 
board several mottoes, favoring 
himself, "A perfect woman, 
nobly planned," as "indicative 
of the aim and policy of the 
school." The board, however, 
chose instead the one favored 
by his son, John M. McBryde, 
Jr., the designer of the College 
seal, "Rosam quae meruit 
ferat." Perhaps they desired to 
offer bearers of the seal a 
chance to savor one of the 
pleasures of higher education 
when the student reads the 
Latin with understanding. 

"The Seal." said the design- 
er, "consists of the arms of 
Fletcher and Lord Amherst, 
from whom the county takes its 
name.... The Tudor roses sym- 
bolize Sweet Briar although 
they aie not the color of the 
sweet brier rose, for pink is not 
a proper heraldic tint. At the 
same time, they might suggest 
Virginia through Elizabeth 
Tudor, from whom our state 
derives its name." 

by Martha Lou l^mmon 
Slohlman '34 and 
Martha von Briesen '31 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

' years ago, in October of 
the year 1900, the lonely last inhabi- 
tant of Sweet Briar House and owner 
of Sweet Briar Plantation died. You know the 
story. Her death set in motion the creation of a 
college — one that will, beginning in January 
2001, celebrate its Centennial Year. In prepara- 
tion, we have been sprucing up our campus, put- 
ting new roofs, new gutters, new balustrades, 
even new mortar on beautifid old buildings that 
students and faculty alike have loved for nearly 
a century. 

The first Amherst County students and their tutor, Mr. Arthur Gray, Jr. 

And we have been sprucing up much more than our buildings. 
We have been refining and renewing our educational program, 
improving our academic offerings inside the classrooms of Benedict, 
Fletcher. Babcock and Guion. and improving life beyond the class- 
room for our students. We have been finding new uses for old build- 
ings. The train station that became a ceramics studio has become an 
environmental sciences laboratory. The milking bam has become a 
ceramics studio. The old date house that became a laundromat and 
housekeeping offices has become the Bistro, and we have plans for 
still more transformations. 

These are exciting times at Sweet Briar — so much so that we 

Renmrks excerpted from Founders ' Day Convocation 2000 Address 

By President Elisabeth S. Muhlenfeld 

Quotes from The Story of Sweet Briar College Volume I 
by Martha Lou Lemmon Stohhnan '34 

spend much of our time looking ahead into the future — at what will 
have come to pass at Sweet Briar College by 2006. 2007. 2010. It 
seems that there is so much to do — a very steep hill to climb. How. I 
wonder, will we get it all done? And then comes Founders" Day. 
when we climb a very steep hill indeed, to the top of Monument 
Hill, and get some perspective on our essence, our genesis, and on 
the women and men who made this place. 

As we stand on the cusp of our Centennial, it is amazing to see 
what has happened in a cenmry. What must that first faculty of eight 
intrepid souls have thought as it assembled in the east parlor of 
Sweet Briar House for the first faculty meeting, two days before the 
opening of the first class? They had nothing to build on. No tradi- 
tion. Nothing to turn to as precedent. But it mms out that by not 
being weighed down with the burden of how things had always been 
done before, they were blessedly free to be ahead of their time. 

At that faculty meeting, the focus was student-centered from the 
first. Not only did the little faculty concern itself with minor matters. 

March 2001 


seating in the dining hall and the 
school colors (we owe the pink 
and green to that first faculty 
meeting — they were preppy 
before their time). They also in 
that hour sketched out several 
approaches that would prove 
innovative and forward-looking. 
They inaugurated a fledgling 
advising system. They planned 
an Orientation with social events 
scheduled over several days so 
that everyone could get to know 
one another. They decided not to 

create any rules until they had 
some idea "what rules were 
needed." And best of all, the 
meeting took only one hour. 

Their students, some 5 1 alto- 
gether, came with the widest 
variety of preparations. As was 
the case at every women's col- 
lege of the day, some needed 
preparatory work because they 
came from schools that varied 
widely in quality. All were new; 
"one girl could not stand the 
pace," wept unceasingly for 

weeks, and was sent home. But 
all the rest were very much 
ahead of their time. 

The entire concept of college 
for women was still, particularly 
in the South, relatively new and 
mysterious. And yet just three 
weeks into the term, the sm- 
dents, recognizing the need for 
some rules, submitted a petition 
to the faculty that read, in part, 
" 'Believing there is dignity and 
honor in student government we 
desire individual and community 

Mrs. Williams' carriage with her servant, Logan Anderson, at right, 1 906. 

responsibility for the conduct of 
the students in matters not strict- 
ly academic' " They asked for 
the " 'right to control outdoor 
exercise of the students' and for 
permission to 'extend our power 
as occasion arises and we prove 
worthy to be vested with greater 
power and authority.'" The fac- 
ulty agreed, and two weeks later, 
the students presented to them a 

That student constitution 
included a requirement that stu- 
dents exercise an hour each day 
or be fined 25 cents. Apparently 
this very forward-looking 
emphasis on wellness sometimes 
clashed with academics. One 
girl that year, "petitioning to 
drop geometry," declared that 
the drop was necessary because 
" 'her many studies were inter- 
fering with her daily exercise.' " 
On the other hand, another was 
willing "to substitute a three- 
hour course for the one-hour 
hygiene course in which she 
found the lectures 'constitution- 
ally unbearable.' " 

Sweet Briar was ahead of its 
time in other ways as well. From 
the first, there were dances (a 
form of entertainment that no 
other women's colleges in the 
area allowed), and "gentlemen 
callers were permitted on week- 

That first year, the matter of 
sororities came up. A national 
sorority wanted to establish a 
chapter. The faculty (which, we 
are assured, never had "any seri- 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

A dance by 
the pond 
during the 
May Day 
festivities of 

ous arguments," but conducted 
themselves with "simplicity, 
unanimity, and mutual respect 
and understanding") discussed 
the matter at length. Several 
"motions were made which 
were, after much talk, with- 
drawn." Finally, the faculty 
appointed a committee. Its 
charge? "to instill into the minds 
of the students the idea of a gen- 
eral literary and dramatic socie- 
ty." This precursor of subliminal 
communication worked. 
Stohlman relates in The Stor,- of 
Sweet Briar College that a 
month later, the students peti- 
tioned the faculty "to organize a 
literary and dramatic society," 
itself the precursor to Paint and 

When Dr. Connie Guion 
came to teach chemistry and 
physics, she quickly saw some- 
thing very special about Sweet 
Briar's students. "I soon real- 
ized," she wrote, "that the crite- 
rion for every proposition, be it 
for academic work or a May 
Day Dance, was 'Is it best for 
the college?' Everywhere I was 
conscious of a spirit of owner- 
ship or a better word is partner- 
ship, a spirit of jealousy for this 
growing young college." And 
when President Benedict's 
younger sister came to visit in 
1908 with several Vassar class- 

mates, she was fascinated by 
"the sense of maturity of those 
girls. Happy though they were, 
young though they were, they 
were responsible. They were 
laying foundations, pioneering, 
helping to mold an 
institution... they were making 
their traditions — and the process 
was making women of them." 

The final tradition created by 
that first class we honor today. It 
stems from the fact that Indiana 
Fletcher Williams asked only 
one thing of us in return for her 
remarkable gift of a college: that 
we maintain the graveyard on 
Monument Hill, perpetual home 
of her loved ones and in particu- 
lar her beloved daughter Daisy. 
Accordingly, when five students 
of that first class entered their 
senior year, the first Founders' 
Day was planned. The faculty 
met to select appropriate caps 
and gowns, and on Founders' 
Day, November 19, 1909, the 
seniors donned their academic 
regalia for the first time. 

Today, nearly a century later, 
as we ascend to the Monument 
for a brief ceremony, we honor 
Indiana's wish just as students 
and faculty have been doing 
since those first students and 
founding faculty. May we this 
day take strength from their 
strength; may we see with their 

clarity of vision; may we retain 
their innocent conviction that all 
things are possible. May we 
honor them and celebrate them, 
and then quietly vow to do our 
part to take up their work. The 
past is prologue. 

'itM, paMiodaM^iruthe' 

March 2001 • 

/iwe^^ l3^uM/ yiG^ it(9^u^ 
wJ^t^ th^dl ch^^ 

Katherine Hill was eight years old when 
her mother. Dr. Barbara Ann Hill 
became Sweet Briar's eighth president 
(1990-1996). "In the beginning," says Barbara, 
"Katherine was scared to death of the ghost sto- 
ries. But by the end of her first year, she under- 
stood that there was a difference between ghosts 
who were unhappy and spirits who were looking 
out for you. The story of the 1927 fire at Sweet 
Briar House is a wonderful example of the latter. 
Indiana and Daisy returned home after the fire 
because they cared so much about the place. 

^ « mwi '" 

Sweet Briar House after the fire in 1927 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Katherine knew all the 
stories. 1 knew them, 
and all of our visitors 
learned them," laughs Barbara. 
"1 found that kind of mytholo- 
gizing interesting as a way of 
acknowledging the importance 
of founding family. The ghost 
stories Ann Whitley had gath- 
ered, in combination with places 
like Monument Hill, Sweet Briar 
House, and the museum, offered 
a wonderful way to connect with 
the College's past." 

For nearly three decades. Ann 
Marshall Whitley "47. curator of 
the Sweet Briar Museum, has 
been scouring every attic, base- 
ment, and broom closet on cam- 
pus in search of the College's 
historic treasures. Early on, 
while rummaging through an old 
carton of photographs, she had 
her own chilling brush with the 
supernatural. Ann's tale, as well 
as some of the others she has 
collected in her book. Ghost 



Katherine Hill, age eight 

Photo by Lorry Peters 

Stories ami Mysteries of Sweet 
Briar, appears in this "believe it 
or not" section of the Centennial 
Alumnae Magazine. 

The following tales are 
excerpted with the author 's per- 
mission from Ghost Stories and 
Mysteries of Sweet Briar by Ann 
Marshall Whitley. The copy was 
edited for length. 

The Fire 

In 1927 a terrible fu-e nearly 
destroyed Sweet Briar House. It 
was during the second year of 
the tenure of President Meta 
Glass; she had already become 
attached to the lovely antiques 
sheltered within its gracious inte- 
rior. There were the oil paintings, 
furniture, bronzes, clocks, silver, 
and oriental carpets of the found- 
ing family throughout the rooms. 

Every able-bodied person on 
campus helped carry the contents 
to safety — faculty, students, staff, 
and farm workers converged on 
the house. The smoke was thick 
and choking; flames leapt 
through the floors and up the 
walls from the basement. Some 
said the fire started in a pile of 
firewood under the back porch, 
but the heaviest damage 
occurred in the front and mid- 
sections of the house. 

The historic properties were 
carried out the doors and lifted 
through windows. The house 
was not only home to the presi- 
dent, but to several faculty mem- 
bers as well. Many things were 
destroyed, others smoke- 

damaged, but the fire was con- 
tained and extinguished by late 
afternoon. The community was 
shocked and saddened. 

That evening as dusk fell, a 
faculty member walked into the 
boxwood circle in front of the 
house to view the destruction. 
The moon was rising, casting 
eerie shadows across the charred 
facade and porch. The front door 
was a black gaping void. Dark 
streaks discolored the bricks 
above the windows. Foundation 
plantings had been trampled, 
debris littered the yard, and the 
smell of damp charred wood 
filled the evening air. It was a 
scene of utter desolation. 

As the professor stared at the 
ruin, she noticed a movement 
from the comer of her eye. She 
saw a tall woman accompanied 
by a young girl stepping out of 
the boxwoods. They were arm in 
arm, slowly approaching the 
porch. They did not speak to her 
or to each other, but ascended 
the porch steps and disappeared 
into the burned blackness of the 

There was nothing unusual 
about the pair except for their 
clothing. It looked quite outdated 
to the professor. The woman had 
on a long skirt that swept the 
ground. Her blouse had a high 
neck with a sleeve style of the 
1890s. The girl's dress was calf- 
length and she wore high- 
buttoned shoes, an outfit common 
to young girls 40 years before. 
This seemed very odd to the 

onlooker, accustomed to the flap- 
per look of the 1920s. 

These must be mountain 
women, she thought. She had 
never seen them on campus 
before. She shook her head at the 
peculiarities of some people and 
dismissed the incident from her 
mind. After all, tomorrow was 
another day of classes and she 
had work to do. 

Nearly 30 minutes later 
another faculty member entered 
the boxwood circle. While she 
was looking at the house, a 
woman and a young girl walked 
out on the porch, stood for a 
moment while the girl turned to 
look back into the dark hall, then 
came down the steps, walked 
silently across the grass and dis- 
appeared into the boxwoods. She 
thought them curiosity seekers 
from the countryside, noting the 
very outmoded clothing styles. 
As she left the yard she thought 
no more about them. 

Several weeks later, the two 
professors were seated at the 
same table for dinner in the 
Refectory. Several faculty mem- 
bers were discussing the fire and 
the reconstruction work at Sweet 
Briar House when one of them 
asked if anyone else had seen a 
woman and young girl go into 
the house at dusk on the day of 
the fire. She described the pair 
and their old-fashioned attire. 
Did anyone know who they 
might have been? The other fac- 
ulty observer replied that she had 
seen them come out and disap- 

March 2001 



«■ '* 

W(Mf y\j9^ WVnf i/n/ thZ/ 

h»i^&. I WOAol^'M/. 

pear into the boxwood; she 
assumed that they were just 
mountain women coming to sat- 
isfy their curiosity. No one else 
had seen them, but the incident 
was a httle bizarre and the story 

At Mt. San Angelo across the 
road, the elderly Nannie 
Christian, who was working 
there, heard the story. She had 
worked at Sweet Briar for the 
Williams family before Daisy 
Williams died. 

"Couldn't be nobody but Miz 
Williams and Daisy. Sure "nuff 
that's who they was. Sounds just 
like "em. I know they comes 
'round now and then. Lots of 
folks has seen Miz Williams 
includin' me. She just checkin" 
up on her things. Her things 
meant the world to her. They 
might be dead, but they's not 

The Face in the Red 
Velvet Frame 

It was while assembling the 
antique properties of Sweet Briar 
for the new museum that the 
question of locating a portrait of 
the founder of the College, 



Since the founding of the 
College in 1901, nobody had 
found a likeness of Miss Indie. 
Many requests for a portrait had 
come in over the years, but no 
one had been able to produce an 
identifiable picture. 

One Fall while doing some 
research in the College library, I 
discovered an old grocery carton 
sitting on the floor in the comer 
of a storage room off the Rare 
Book Room. The weather had 
been wet and rainy for some 
weeks; the smell of dampness 
was strong in the room. A streak 
of mildew decorated the wall 
just above the carton. I felt that 
whatever was in the carton might 
be damp, so I carried it into the 
Rare Book Room and opened it. 

It contained a stack of 19th- 
century photographs of people 
and houses. These were unidenti- 
fied but on the back of each was 
a number. Obviously there had 
been a key to these photos, how- 
ever, it was missing. A note in 
the bottom of the box said, 

The face in the 
red velvet frame 

graphs were 
found by Reuben 
Higginbotham in Sweet Briar 
House basement in 1953." 
Reuben had worked in Sweet 
Briar House for Miss Meta 
Glass, the College's third presi- 
dent, stayed on through the 
tenure of President Martha B. 
Lucas, and then retired in the 
early years of Dr. Anne Gary 
Pannell's presidency. 

TTie photos were damp and 
some of their edges were begin- 
ning to curi. I carried them to 
Sweet Briar House in the hope 
of drying them on top of the 
radiators, which were enclosed 
in wooden decorative frames. 
They would be out of direct light 
if I used the dining room radia- 
tors. Edith Whiteman. wife of 
President Harold Whiteman, was 
home; she helped me spread the 
photos out on the dining room 
table to look at them. 

I recognized the face of 
Elijah Retcher, the founder's 
father, several of her daughter 
Daisy at different ages, and two 
of her husband, James Henry 

Williams. . .These were all 

family photographs. 

There were three photos of 
unidentified women. Two of 
them were of the same person at 
different ages. She was fair, with 
very light blue eyes, aquiline 
features, and a pleasant expres- 
sion. The third was of a woman 
in her twenties who looked relat- 
ed to the woman in the other two 
photos, but she was stouter, her 
face rounder, her hair darker. 

As I looked at the two photos 
of the same woman, 1 knew I 
had seen that face before — but 
where? Of course, the face in the 
red velvet frame in the Rare 
Book Room at the library. It was 
locked behind wire mesh doors 
on a bookshelf that had several 
mementos of the Fletcher family. 
The photo had always been iden- 
tified as Daisy Williams. 

I had seen the face in the red 
velvet frame often enough and 
always doubted that it was 
Daisy. The face was more 
mature than any of Daisy's pho- 
tos. Although it was done in pro- 
file, I sensed it was another per- 
son altogether. The librarians 
insisted that it was Daisy. 

I decided to go back to the 
library and bring the picture to 
Sweet Briar House so that I 
could compare it to the two pho- 
tos of the unidentified woman. 

Within fifteen minutes I 
returned with the face in the red 
velvet frame. 1 rushed into the 
dining room and laid the photo 
next to the other two. It was 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

obviously the same person 
at three different ages! The 
framed portrait was done at 
about age 16. the second 
one at around 25 and the 
third one was the woman in 
her forties. 

Then came the acid test. 1 
removed the photo from the 
frame and discovered it had been 
photographed in Paris, France. 
Daisy had never been to Europe, 
but her mother had, at the age of 

1 stared down at the pictures, 
getting more excited by the sec- 
ond, and said to Mrs. Whiteman. 
who 1 thought was behind me, 
"Do you know who we have 
here? It is the founder, it is Miss 
Indie. We have found Miss Indie. 

I heard a distinct low laugh 
behind my left shoulder. 1 turned 
to Mrs. Whiteman with a big 
grin on my face. She was not in 
the room. She was not even in 
the house. 1 was alone. 

Daisy Williams 

For many years the College 
did not have a proper gymnasi- 
um. Grammar Commons, the 
large room in the lower level of 
Grammer dormitory, did duty as 
the gymnasium, but the space 
was inadequate and the ceiling 
too low for much more than cal- 
isthenics. However, it had to suf- 
fice, especially during inclement 
weather. One student reported 
that she hated gym on rainy days 
as she detested calisthenics. In 



physical edu 

cation was required 

three times per week for all four 

years. No student was excused. 

The president and the Board 
knew that something had to be 
done: fund-raising for a new 
gymnasium began in the early 
1920s, an effort spearheaded by 
the Athletic Association. In 1931, 
cornerstone ceremonies were 
held and the gymnasium built. 
Long discussions, campus-wide, 
took place to name it. All build- 
ings at Sweet Briar had names, 
but this building being neither an 
academic building nor a resi- 
dence hall posed a special prob- 
lem. Only three days before the 
dedication ceremony, the name 
was selected: it was to be the 
Daisy Williams Gymnasium. 

On the very morning that the 
name was announced. Mrs. 
Martindale, the College house- 
keeper, went to her supply stor- 
age area located under the first- 
floor steps in Gray dormitory. 
She found to her surprise a large 
bronze medallion of the bust of 
Daisy Williams. The 16-inch 
diameter medallion was mounted 

moth-eaten velvet 
background and it was framed. 

Mrs. Martindale had been 
director of the halls of residence 
since 1906: nothing escaped her 
notice. But this was an item she 
had never seen before. Quite sur- 
prised, she carried the medallion 
to President Meta Glass, who 
was charmed by it but also quite 
in the dark over its sudden 
appearance. People all over the 
campus were asked if they knew 
where it had come from. Nobody 
knew. Its origin remains a mys- 
tery. However, Miss Glass decid- 
ed to have it mounted on the 
entrance hall wall just inside the 
doors of the new gymnasium. It 
is there to this day. 

On the day of the dedication 
Miss Glass said, "I could think 
of no explanation of its appear- 
ance except that Miss Indie sent 
it in appreciation." 

Bronze medallion of 
Daisy discovered in 

If the Walls 
Could Talk 

When the first faculty 
was hired, there was not 
enough housing on campus 
for everyone; several faculty 
members were invited to live 
in the extra bedrooms at Sweet 
Briar House. These were not 
normally superstitious people 
who took fright at odd happen- 
ings and "things that go bump in 
the night," but... 

The Music Box 

One professor reported being 
in the middle parlor one after- 
noon when it was otherwise 
empty. Daisy Williams" music 
box suddenly began to play. It 
played one full tune of the eight 
for which it had been pro- 
grammed, then cut itself off. 
Most items in the room had 
belonged to the founding family; 
the music box sat on the marble 
base of one of the tall pier mir- 
rors, where it had always been. 
The professor admitted to being 
"a bit uneasy." 

The Seventh Step 

It seems that for some reason 
several faculty boarders as well as 
others working in the house 
tripped on the seventh step from 
the bottom of the front hall stair- 
case. The seventh step was no dif- 
ferent from the other steps in the 
stairwell. It was not uneven, did 
not project farther than the other 
steps, but it seemed often to catch 

March 2001 • 


heels or k)c,s. LdUMng aLLidenls. 

No less reliable a person than 
Miss Dee Long, professor of 
English for many years, told that 
Miss Elizabeth Czanomska, of 
the Department of Religion, fell 
at the seventh step one evening. 
After a moment of unconscious- 
ness she opened her eyes and 
said to those tiying to lift her up, 
"Miss Indie tripped me in 
revenge. I broke one of her 
teacups today." 

Even today people using the 
stairs are wary of the seventh 
step. The saying has always 
been: If Miss Indie is unhappy 
with something you have done, 
she will trip you on the seventh 

Daisy's Playroom 

In early days the infirmary 
used two rooms upstairs in the 
back of the house. Students were 
put to bed there with assorted 
aches, sprains, colds, and pains. 
Meals were carried from the 
Refectory kitchen by a young 
man named Sam. As soon as 
Sam reached the walk leading to 
the house he was heard to repeat 
over and over, "Miss Indie, if 
you don't do nothin" to me, I 
won't do nothin" to you." Sam 

claimed to have seen Miss Indie 
walking through the boxwood 
bushes on two occasions at the 
dinner hour. On reaching the 
path to the house he was also 
reported to carry the tray as fast 
as he could without spilling any- 
thing. One student said that if 
Sam had been timed, he would 
probably have broken every 
world record for the 50 yard 

After the infirmary had 
moved to new quarters in the 
faculty apartments at No. 1 
Faculty Row, the smallest of the 
rooms that it had formerly occu- 
pied in Sweet Briar House was 
turned over to a faculty boarder. 
The room is only large enough 
for a bed, chair, chest, and book- 

The professor had difficulty 
keeping her room door closed. 
Often when she was in the room, 
the door would open and close 
of its own accord. She discov- 
ered that the room had been 
Daisy Williams' playroom, 
where the child kept her dolls, 
books, toys, and games. The pro- 
fessor was convinced that this 
was Daisy coming to play. 
Sometimes the door would open 
and close immediately. At other 
times it would be open for 10 or 
15 minutes before closing. When 
the professor left her room she 
always closed the door; when 
she returned, the door was usual- 
ly wide open. 

The West Parlor 

One evening an instructor 
who liked to read in the west 
parlor was seated comfortably in 
a large green velvet overstuffed 
chair, one of two in the room. 
The large overhead chandelier 
with crystal prisms had been 
wired for electricity, but at that 
moment was not turned on; the 
instructor was using a floor 
lamp. Suddenly the chandelier lit 
up and immediately switched 
off. On and oft" it went a half 
dozen times. No one else was in 
the room. The instructor said, 
"Daisy, stop playing with the 
lights!" The activity ceased 

The Signora Stories 

Signora HoUins was bom in 
Virginia of slave parents just as 
the final convulsions of the Civil 
War were drawing to an agoniz- 
ing end. After the war, she was 
brought to the Sweet Briar plan- 
tation by her aunt, who was to be 
the cook for the Williams family. 
Daisy Williams was about seven 
years old. so it must have been 
1873 or 1874. Signora was about 

The two children became 
good friends and playmates. 
They explored the edge of the 
woods, pretended to fish in the 
spring in the west dell, played 
with Daisy's dolls and chickens, 
and rode Daisy's little pony, 
"Bounce." They had playhouses 
in the big boxwood bushes. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

picked wild strawberries and 
other fruit, and worked in Daisy's 
little garden. 

After Daisy's death at 16 in 
1 884, Signora remained at Sweet 
Briar working for Indiana 
Williams for about six months. 
Then Signora was sent by Miss 
Indie to Massachusetts. First she 
worked for a family that kept a 
private school for girls in Boston; 
later she went to Amherst, 
Massachusetts, where the same 
family had a boarding house for 
college boys. Signora was in the 
north for 12 years before return- 
ing to Virginia. 

When Sweet Briar College 
was founded, Signora applied for 
work and was hired. What she 
saw in those early days were tall 
buildings where cherry and peach 
orchards had been. There were 
only four buildings then: the fac- 
ulty apartments [now House 1 , 
Faculty Row], the first building 
built, at that time housed the 
workers who were building Gray, 
Carson, and the Refectory. 
Signora was hired to be the cook 
in the faculty apartments. 

One day before the College 
opened, Signora came out of the 
faculty apartments and found 
Indiana Williams waiting for her. 
Although Signora knew that 
Indiana had been dead for sever- 
al years she said, "I thought 
nothing about it." 

She continued that Miss Indie 
looked perfectly natural and was 
wearing her usual black skirt and 
white shirtwaist. As they walked 
together toward the new build- 
ings and then came near the old 
slave cabin behind Sweet Briar 
House, Indiana asked where the 
iron gate was to Amelia's house 
and where was Daisy's pony? 
Signora said that she didn't 

A little later, near the cabin. 
Miss Indie told Signora that her 
money was buried behind the 
well under a large flat rock at the 
end of the well drain. She then 
told Signora to get a stick and 
stir it around to pry up the rock 
and the money would be under- 
neath. She said that there was 
money on the other side of the 
boxwood hedge, buried by 

John Butler, Signora Hollins, and 
Sterling Jones in 193S. 

Daisy's hitching post, "Daisy's 
money." There was money 
buried in another place, she told 
Signora. "The other place money 
is buried is under an old pine 
tree that is a stump now near a 
large white rock on the hill 
across the field from the lake." 
Signora never said whether she 
searched for the money or if it 
was ever found. 

The second time Signora saw 
Indiana was in the hall of the 
Refectory. "She was only walk- 
ing through and we didn't speak, 
but she had on the same white 
shirtwaist and black skirt, and 
she was just looking around." 
This too was before the College 

Many years passed before 
Signora saw Indiana again. At 
that time. Miss Emilie Watts 
McVea was president of Sweet 
Briar. She had taken up her 
duties in the fall of 1916. When 
Indiana materialized the third 
time, she told Signora that her 
silver was buried in a wall in 
Sweet Briar House — sealed up in 
the wall on the landing of the 
front staircase, "the wall of Mr. 
Williams' bedroom." Signora 
informed Miss McVea, who was 
willing to go along with what 
Signora had told her. College 
carpenters opened the wall: the 
silver was indeed there. "It was 
wrapped up in three paper pack- 
ages and they were black with 
dirt. The spoons looked like gold 
and I don't know what happened 
to it after that." 

Orjt/ im^ ^i^fis^ the/ CMc^ 

ofi/r\^, ^xMvshOj CO/tnt/ wAt/ 

arui ^m^m4/ Iruda/nO/ 

Vy^ (yuiiamO/ hM/ ^HMi' 
iajuC, "[ th/MPjM/ nstfyi^riA' 

At the time of these stories 
Signora was well into her 
nineties. A tape of her stories 
was made by some members of 
the Sweet Briar faculty. Signora 
Hollins died during the summer 
of 1954. 


"Somewhat in accord 

with the following" 

In a short story entitled 
"Motive vs. Opportunity," 
Agatha Christie had a certain 
solicitor, Mr. Petherick, make a 
statement. I am somewhat in 
accord with the following: 

/ may say here and now that I 
do not belong to the ranks of 
those who cover spiritualism 
with ridicule and scorn. I am a 
believer in evidence. And I think 
when we have an impartial mind 
and weigh the evidence in favor 
of spiritualism there remains 
much that cannot be put down to 
fraud or lightly set aside. 
Tlierefore. as I say, I am neither 
a believer or an unbeliever 
There is certain testimony with 
which one cannot afford to dis- 

— Ann Marshall Whitley 

March 2001 • 


■*•* ^^^m^^t 

the/ fSwe^ t^ T)^temrv [liAhtm/ 



Sweet Briar College opened its doors on September 
27, 1906, to 36 boarding students, 15 day students, 
and 1 1 members of the faculty. At the time it pos- 
sessed approximately 3,000 acres of land, including the 
plantations of Sweet Briar and Mt. St. Angelo, four col- 
lege buildings, four faculty residences and $5,700 left 
from the original endowment. It also had Mary K. 
Benedict as its first president; she was the most important 
item on the list of Sweet Briar's assets. 

'"■^JsriCi»««V'~^ ' 

— -^ 

By Margaret Banister " 16 

Excerpted from her article in the Fall 1976 75th Anniversary- 

Issue of the Alumnae Magazine 

Copy edited for length 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Cupola under construction in 1906, above. Building the dam the 
same year, right. 

When Indiana Fletcher 
Wilhams died on 
October 29, 1900, she 
left an estate which seemed 
large to Virginians of that peri- 
od. There was much interest and 
excitement when it was learned 
that her last will and testament 
provided that this fortune be 
used to establish "a school or 
seminary" in memory of her 
only child Daisy, who died at 
age sixteen. The estate then 
comprised 8,000 acres of land in 
Amherst County and in 
Lynchburg and $545,891 in 
securities and cash. This was left 
in trust with instructions to carry 
out the provisions of the will to 
four men: the Rt. Reverend A. 
M. Randolph, Episcopal Bishop 
of the Diocese of Southern 
Virginia, the Reverend Arthur R. 
Gray, rector of the Church of the 
Ascension in Amherst, the 
Reverend Theodore Carson, rec- 
tor of St. Paul's Church in 

Lynchburg and Mr. Stephen R. 
Harding of Amherst, farni man- 
ager of the Sweet Briar planta- 
tion. According to Mrs. 
Williams' will these men were 
instructed to select three more to 
form a Board of Directors. They 
chose the Reverend Carl E. 
Grammer of Philadelphia. Judge 
Legh R. Watts of Portsmouth 
and Dr. John M. McBryde of 
V.RI. in Blacksburg. 

Upon these seven men 
devolved the responsibility of 
making decisions necessary to 
carry out the tenns of the will 
and bring the new instiuite into 
reality. In the six years between 
Mrs. Williams" death and the 
opening of the school, the Board 
faced many difficulties. The first 
Board, in spite of the preponder- 
ance of Episcopal ministers, 
decided that the institution 
should be nondenominational 
and that it should be "a liberal 
arts college of the first rank." 

A charter needed to be 
secured from the Virginia legis- 
lature as a first step. This was 
not easy to do. for immediate 
opposition arose from two 
sources. Amherst County 
authorities objected to the with- 
drawal of so much property 
from the tax structure and 
claimed that $31,000 in back 
taxes was owed by the estate. 
The second source came from 
the children of Lucian Fletcher, 
the disinherited son of Elijah 
Fletcher, who was never spoken 
of by the family. They threat- 
ened to take legal steps to break 
Mrs. Williams" will. After an 
out-of-court settlement made by 
the payment of $25,000 to the 
so-called heirs and $30,000 to 
Amherst County, the charter 
was granted in 1 90 1 . The Board 
then settled down to the practi- 
cal problems of establishing a 
college in an isolated stretch of 
country where nothing existed 

but a plantation house. 

An architect was selected, 
Ralph Adams Cram of Boston. 
His beautiful plans were drawn 
and approved. The site for the 
college buildings was selected, 
roads were built, sewage, water 
and electric systems installed 
and bricks of red Virginia clay 
baked on the property. The con- 
tractor engaged to build the first 
of the college buildings was 
good at construction but a poor 
manager. Things needed were 
not ordered; things ordered 
were lost in transit. Delays were 
frequent: during the delays 
prices of materials went up, 
exceeding original estimates. 
The construction workers called 
a strike and the contractor went 
into bankruptcy. The Board then 
engaged a Lynchburg firm to 
complete the construction, only 
to find that they were bound by 
contract to the original compa- 
ny, a situation which involved a 

March 2001 • 


ffWH' had' n»' PiadituyM', rus^ (9>u^a/ni'Zaii»r\4', ru^ pMcedi/nM'. 

settlement of $5,300. 

Time went on: funds dwin- 
dled. Changes tool; place in the 
Board during those years. Mr. 
Carson died; his place was 
taken by Mr. N. C. Manson of 
Lynchburg. Mr Harding, who 
had been greatly trusted by 
Miss Indie, proved to be most 
uncooperative. He was one of 
the original four trustees, there- 
fore, a member of the Board. 
He was also the executor of the 
will. He showed little interest, 
however, in establishing a col- 
lege. He refused to move out of 
Sweet Briar House, where he 
had been living since Miss 
Indie's death; he expended 
funds without consulting the 
Board; and finally, in 1903, he 
withdrew entirely. His place 
was taken by Mr. Fergus Reid 
of Norfolk. 

Dr. McBryde, a member of 
the first Board, rendered invalu- 
able service to Sweet Briar dur- 
ing those difficult years and had 
been unanimously offered the 
presidency of the new college. 
He hesitated at first, asking time 

Mt St. Angelo before and after Dr. McBryde's "repairs.' 

to consider the matter. In the 
meantime he had been in charge 
of what was intended to be the 
repairing of the house at Mt. St. 
Angelo. intended to be the 
home of the president. When 
the Board went to inspect the 
work that had been done, they 
were appalled. Instead of being 
repaired, the house had practi- 
cally been rebuilt and changed 
from a smaller Italian villa-type 
to a much larger, impressive 
Georgian structure with white 
columns covering two facades. 
The $7,500 allocated for the 
project had been greatly 
exceeded. The Board was upset. 
Dr. McBryde was apparently 
annoyed, and in January 1906, 
announced that he could not 
"see his way clear" to becoming 
president of Sweet Briar; he 
would remain at V.P.I. His place 
on the Board was taken by Mr. 
Charles Heald of Lynchburg. 

So there the harassed gentle- 
men were, with the College 
scheduled to open in September 
of that year and with no presi- 
dent available. Bishop 
Randolph and Dr Grammer 
were appointed a committee to 
find a president. It was Dr. 
Grammer who traveled to 
Missouri to interview a young 
professor of psychology named 
Mary K. Benedict, 31 years of 
age, a graduate of Vassar with a 
recent Ph.D. from Yale. He 
liked what he saw; .she was 
offered the presidency of Sweet 

President Benedict, 1914 

When Mary Kendrick 
Benedict arrived by train early 
in June of 1906. there was no 
station by the railroad tracks 
where the train stopped — only a 
sign which read "Sweet Briar" 
She was met by a horse and 
buggy, driven through the 
woods, and deposited at the first 
of the faculty houses down the 
hill from the College buildings, 
now known as No. 1 Faculty 
Row. then called "The 
Apartment House." There she 
was expected to live until Mt. 
St. Angelo was ready for her 

Upon investigation, Miss 
Benedict found herself faced 
with an unbelievable situation, 
calculated to daunt the stoutest 
heart. The College was sched- 
uled to open in three months, 
and practically nothing was 
completed. The four buildings. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 


Excerpted from an article by Ann Marshall Whitley '47, 
Summer 1 994 Alumnae Magazine 

S\^eet Briar's lawn mowers at work, ca. 1914 


When Sweet Briar College was founded, there were 
sheep on the property. They were raised as a cash 
crop in the days of the plantation. Lonnbs were bought 
and sold each spring; after lannbing season was over, 
the mature sheep were sheared and their wool sold. 

K The Williams and Mt. St. Angelo flocks inherited by 

■ the College were kept for a number of years. They 
were white-faced, flat-tailed sheep bred for meat, 

I wool, and offspring. In those early days when all pos- 
sible means were taken by the first Board to bring 
income to create a self-sustaining institution, students 
ate a considerable amount of lamb, mutton, and shep- 
herd's pie. 

■ At that time there was not much farm machinery. Two 

■ mowing machines were pulled by teams of mules to 
cut the hay; the gross around the buildings was kept 

I "trimmed" by the sheep. Sheep, close-to-the-ground 
eaters with long, flexible lips, spend more than half 
their time grazing. Like goats, they survive on gross, 
weeds, and waste roughage-perfect lawn mowers. 

By the time World War I came, the College was more 
advanced mechanically; the sheep were phased out 
in favor of commercial lawn mowers. These took man- 
P power, made more noise, and were less attractive, 
but did not require feeding, shearing, shepherding, 
dipping, debuffing, breeding, transporting, market- 
ing. ..Since then, students have been fed much less 

itie Refectory, the Academic 
Building, and ttie two dormito- 
ries. Gray and Carson, were not 
finished. The heating system 
and the electric wiring had not 
been installed: the kitchen 
equipment was not in place; the 
dormitories were bare. Worst of 
all, only one student had been 
enrolled and two members of 
the faculty employed. If Miss 
Benedict was daunted, she did 
not show it. In the three months 
that remained, she and members 
of the Board of Directors 
"passed" a miracle. They adver- 
tised: they traveled to various 
cities and towns: they spoke to 
meetings and talked to parents, 
and they enrolled 36 girls from 
12 different states. No one has 
ever known how Miss Benedict 
managed to find the additional 

nine faculty members in that 
short time at that late date. 

1 have often wondered about 
those 36 girls, some of them 
from distant states, arriving by 
train at an open space marked 
only by a sign, driving through 
deep woods in pouring rain to 
buildings giving every indica- 
tion of newness and rawness — 
no grass, no trees and a sea of 
mud left by the builders. They 
had no traditions, no organiza- 
tions, no precedents. They were 
isolated far out in the country 
with no transportation available 
except the Southern Railroad. It 
would be easy to understand 
much homesickness and dissat- 
isfaction, but nothing in the 
early records indicates that this 
was so. 

Coming to the College, accompanied by Mom, 1913 

March 2001 • 


WM' W9ru hjf UltAv "ji/rpJ' HoAjt^. fifi««*tj/i»Mt he/f' ^w^ 

Ellen "Jim" Hoyes1^4_ 
and Ruth Maurice '14 

Within a month, a Student 
Government Association was 
formed, a constitution and by- 
laws written. Shortly thereafter, 
the Athletic Association was 
established, then a dramatic 
club and a branch of the 
YWCA. During that first year a 
joint choir and glee club was 
formed. And even with that 
small group and the newness of 
everything. May Day was cele- 
brated in the Boxwood Circle 
and a dance given that night, 
events which became one of 
our cherished traditions for 
many years. 

For 1907-1908, the student 
body more than doubled. 
Ninety girls registered in 
September and the faculty 
increased to 15. A station had 
been built by the railroad tracks 
and Sweet Briar acquired a sec- 
ond bus. Almost every train 
stopped in those days, and a 
horse-drawn bus, driven by Mr. 
Rhea, known always as Bus 
Rhea, met every train. 

Another innovation that sec- 
ond year was the Tea Room in 
the little cottage at one side of 
Sweet Briar House, which had 
been the office in plantation 
days. It was much smaller then 
and almost hidden by box bush- 
es. Here the faculty, with stu- 
dent volunteers, opened a little 
tea room two afternoons a 
week. Emphasis was put upon 
tea. ginger ale, and a variety of 
cookies and cakes, especially 
birthday cakes. 

The completion of another 
dormitory — Randolph — marked 
1908-1909, and the student 
body grew to 111. Intra- 
collegiate athletics began, with 
much rivalry among the classes. 
The first Field Day was held, 
and a silver loving cup. present- 
ed to the Athletic Association 
by the faculty, was won by 
Ellen "Jim" Hayes. Throughout 
her four years, Jim remained 
Sweet Briar's outstanding ath- 
lete. Also that year, the dramat- 
ic club was split into two clubs. 
The Billikens and The Merry 
Jesters. (The Billikens later 
became The Ripplers.) 
Productions included You Never 
Can Tell by Shaw. The Knight 
of the Burning Pestle by 
Beaumont and Fletcher, and 
The Merry Jesters in the Land 
of Mean's Desire from a play 
by Yeats; and such vignettes as 
A Russian Honeymoon. The 
Masonic Ring, A Bachelor's 
Rotiuince. Anns and the Man. 
and The Imponance of being 

A banner year for Sweet 
Briar was 1909-1910. A boat- 
house was built at the lake, 
increasing the importance of 
water sports; a book shop was 
opened; the Sweet Briar 
Magazine was published for the 
first time, and the first year- 
book, the Briar Patch was 
issued. The first Founders' Day 
insfituted the tradition that sen- 
iors wear their caps and gowns 
for the first time on that occa- 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

sion. The Honor System was 
created, and, most important, 
the first class — 1910 — graduat- 
ed. There were five members in 
that class: all were among the 
first 36. all were from Virginia, 
and all were among the most 
active and loyal alumnae possi- 
ble throughout the years. Two 
of the five went on to graduate 
work. That Sweet Briar's 
degree has from the first repre- 
sented academic quality is an 
accepted fact. 

Manson dormitory was built 
in 1910. giving the College an 
assembly hall (the entire base- 
ment) which served as chapel, 
auditorium and stage for many 
years. In 1912, Grammer was 
the first building to be placed 
on the opposite side of the 
quadrangle. It, too, provided an 
entire basement, used as a gym- 
nasium until the Daisy Williams 
Gymnasium was constructed in 
1931. Grammer also afforded 
space for informal dances on 
Saturday evenings when the 
girls danced with each other or 
with the many young men who 
came from neighboring colleges 
and universities. The two for- 
mal dances of the year were on 
Founders' Day and May Day. 

Life in the early years was 
simple, informal and friendly. A 
close relationship existed 
between faculty and students 
and among the faculty with 
each other. Everybody knew 
everybody. Except for faculty 
members who lived down the 

hill, everyone ate in the 
Refectory. Girls made up their 
own tables and stayed togeth- 
er. All meals were served. 
Miss Benedict tapped a bell; 
all stood for a silent grace and 
then were seated as the bell 
was tapped again. We enjoyed 
some luxuries not available 
today. Mail was delivered to 
our rooms by "Bats." The 
College furnished linen and 
blankets ; all a girl had to bring 
was towels. Laundry was col- 
lected from and brought to our 
rooms each week. 

The beauty of the campus 
and the countryside surrounding 
it was a part of us: the violets 
that grew so thickly down the 
hill behind Grammer, the row 
of cherry trees where Fletcher 
now stands, the lilac hedge 
back of Sweet Briar House, the 
fringe tree in the side yard. We 
used to take long walks: 
Monument Hill was one of our 
favorite places. We felt close to 
Daisy and Miss Indie then, and 
often we visited the marble 
angel that marked the grave 
where Daisy lies. There we 
would sit on the wall and try to 
study, but we were more likely 
just to sit and look at the view, 
the rolling fields and orchards, 
red brick buildings in the dis- 
tance, mountains framing the 
whole picture. 

The campus was more coun- 
trified then. It had never known 
the attentions of a landscape 
architect and, except for the 


^A jt A ft. Hjcwt 



A Sweet Briar Song from a student's notebook, 1 909 

quadrangle, the West Dell and 
the gardens of Sweet Briar 
House, it was left in its natural 
state. On one side of Grammer 
a stretch of ground was known 
to grow many four-leaf clovers. 
I was not good at finding them, 
but one June afternoon, the day 
before my German examina- 
tion. I took a break from study- 
ing and went with friends to sit 
in the sun on that stretch and 
relax. While there, I found 1 3 
four-leaf clovers. Taking this to 
be an omen that the fates were 
with me, I decided not to do 
any more studying. The next 
morning I went to the examina- 
tion with all 13 clovers in my 
shoe, and when my final report 
came. I made the highest grade 
I ever achieved on any German 

With none of the amuse- 
ments afforded in cities and 
towns, we had to make our own 
fun and entertainment, and this 
we did with energy and ingenu- 
ity. There were also frequent 
lectures and concerts by well- 
known performers from the out- 
side world. A look at the col- 

woAMmyjjile/i On^49fvmal 
^oo^Um/ wiM\/ each sthe^. 

March 2001 • 


lege program for 1 9 1 1 - 1 2 gives 
a picture of what non-academic 
life was like: YWCA reception 
for new students; lecture: "The 
Relation of Art to the Twentieth 
Century" by Mr. Frank Parsons 
of New York; readings given by 
Mr. Willoughby Reade. 
Professor of English at 
Episcopal High School, 
Alexandria. Va.: freshmen 
entertained by juniors; piano 
recital by Miss Alice Burbage; a 
wedding reception given by Dr. 
and Mrs. Walker of St. Angelo 
in honor of the marriage of their 
daughter Violet to Mr. Basil 
Walker; a Hallowe'en party 
given by new students in honor 
of the old students; lecture, 
"American Humor" by Dr. 
Alphonso Smith of the 
University of Virginia; recital 
given by music department fac- 
ulty; a vaudeville by the sopho- 
mores; concert given by the 
American String Quartet; 
Quality Street presented by The 
Merry Jesters; freshmen- 
sophomore debate; She Stoops 
to Conquer presented by the 
dramatic club; Christmas festi- 
val service by the choir and 
orchestra; and on and on 
through recitals, lectures, con- 
certs, dramatic presentations, 
class parties, a student govern- 
ment association reception for 
the faculty, a senior circus, a 
glee club concert, a lecture on 
"Some Fairy Tales of Olden 
Times" by Tom Peete Cross, 
Sweet Briar's professor of 

Picnic at Mt. St. Angelo. Note tlie Hoffman suits. 

English — to May Day and then 

May Day was our most 
beloved event of the year. The 
election of the May Queen, 
selection of the court, planning, 
rehearsing, presentation, the 
hundreds of visitors, the dance 
that night, all served to delight 
and inspire everyone. The entire 
student body was in costume. 
The maypole was danced in the 
Boxwood Circle, followed by a 
pageant presented down the 
green slopes of the West Dell 
for the Queen, her Court, and 

The West Dell was the scene 
of the Final Play, presented at 
night during Commencement 
Weekend. This was usually a 
Shakespearean presentation; 
Twelfth Night. As You Like It. 
Romeo and Juliet. 1 remember, 
though, one year a Robin Hood 
play, Sherwood, was chosen. 
The actors were drawn from the 
entire student body, and 

rehearsals went on for weeks 
during the spring. A problem: 
the tree frogs abounding in the 
beautiful old tulip poplars 
around the pool at the foot of 
the Dell provided an unwanted 
croaking chorus which fre- 
quently drowned Mr Shake- 
speare's words. It amused us to 
see Mr. William Bland Dew, 
Sweet Briar's distinguished- 
looking treasurer, going around 
with a long bamboo pole, pok- 
ing up into the trees in an effort 
to silence the frogs. During one 
performance even Mr. Dew's 
activity proved ineffective. The 
noise was so great that the Dell 
had to be abandoned and the 
play completed indoors. 

Music played an important 
part in that first decade. In the 
opening year there was a choir 
and glee club and later the 
Mandolin Club and an orches- 
tra. We derived much musical 
appreciation and a sense of 
comradeship from frequent 

musical events. One pleasant 
memory many girls took away 
with them was of the spring 
evenings Miss Emily Abbott 
came out and sat under the trees 
on the quadrangle with her 
banjo. She sang Negro spirim- 
als, at that time not well-known 
in other parts of the country; 
students gathered all around her. 

The Walker family, to whom 
Mt. St. Angelo had been sold, 
provided pleasant social activi- 
ties. They opened St. Angelo to 
the students and made them- 
selves very much a part of 
Sweet Briar life. They were a 
chaniiing English family who 
had migrated to Canada, then to 
Florida, and finally to 
Virginia — Dr. and Mrs. Walker, 
six grown sons and daughters, 
and Mrs. Walker's sister, known 
as "Auntie." 

Only Thanksgiving Day 
itself was a holiday, always a 
great occasion. We had a tradi- 
tional dinner followed by some 
special entertainment. 1 have a 
vivid recollection of the 
Lynchburg Hunt Club meeting 
on campus Thanksgiving morn- 
ing my freshman year. It had 
snowed just enough to cover the 
ground and the horses, the red- 
coated riders, and hounds 
streaking across the white fields 
formed a scene which has 
remained with me all these 
many years. 

The lights went out at 10:30 
at night, literally. They dimmed 
ominously at 10:20 in warning. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

and at 10:30 the entire electrical 
system was turned off and the 
electrician went home. The girls 
did not have to go to bed; we 
could gather in each others" 
rooms and talk as long as we 
wanted, but we had to talk in 
whispers and sit in darkness. 

Ankle-length dresses were 
the fashion and no one had ever 
thought of slacks or blue jeans, 
but Sweet Briar nevertheless 
had a uniform, the Hoffman 
suit. A naval tailor in Norfolk 
began making sailor suits for 
girls, long pleated skirts topped 
by middy blouses with sailor 
collars and the square-folded 
silk ties that sailors wore. No 
matter where a girl came from 
nor what else she had to wear, 
few finished their first year 
without a Hoffman suit. 

Going into Lynchburg by 
train on Saturday afternoons 
was a favorite diversion. The 
schedule of the Southern 
Railroad worked out nicely. 
Shortly after lunch a train went 
into town and several hours 
later, another train left the city 
going north. That provided time 
for shopping and relaxation at 
Craighill and Jones" drugstore 
on Main Street, drawing us by 
its soda fountain, small tables, 
and delectable concoctions. We 
always came back laden with 
delicacies which the Refectory 
did not provide, especially 
Gruyere cheese, Guava jelly, 
crackers, and mince pies, to be 
warmed up on radiator tops. 

The Southern Railroad also 
contributed to the gastronomi- 
cal pleasures of Sweet Briai". All 
trains stopped at Monroe for a 
change of engines. This 
required approximately 20 min- 
utes, sometimes longer. So this 
wait, plus the running time 
between Lynchburg and Sweet 
Briar, created an interval fre- 
quently used to great satisfac- 
tion by students in the dining 
car, where the attendants, 
accustomed to the influx of 
girls, gave hurried attention to 
orders for sandwiches and 
snacks. Food was an important 
item in our lives, and few failed 
to put on weight during the 
course of a year. Dr. Harley 
ascribed this fact to country air. 
proper exercise, and plenty of 
sleep, but it is doubtful that 
these were the only causes. 

It was customary for the 
classes to plant, first Sweet 
Briar Roses against the arcades, 
and later class trees around the 
College buildings. At 
Commencement each year. 
Class Day was held, a grave 
dug under the class tree and 
things that had most bothered 
the graduating members buried 
there. In my class of 1916. for 
instance, Rebecca Stout buried 
all her French books, note- 
books, and everything she pos- 
sessed that furthered the study 
of French. Also in that grave I 
buried a large square box full of 
tonic bottles accumulated 
throughout my four years, but 



^ > 

- w3^ 


Boaters and sv^immers on the lake in 1913. 

Rebecca Stout, May Day, 1916 

March 2001 • 


A group of players who played dally while "vacationing" at Sweet Briar in the summer of 1915. Second from left is Eleanor Miller, mother 
of Lucy Miller '30. At that time the tennis courts ^ere located where Fletcher no^ stands. Note Sweet Briar House in background. 

never opened. Weighing only 
99 pounds at graduation. I had 
been the object of a drive by 
family and Dr. Harley to gain at 
least the one pound necessary to 
reach one hundred. 1 never did. 

I have said little about finan- 
cial matters, but our lack of 
endowment was always before 
us. I quote the Briar Patch on 
this subject: "This year marks 
the beginning of real, concen- 
trated effort toward an 
Endowment Fund. It is 
absolutely imperative that 
Sweet Briar should be liberally 
endowed. ..let us work to the 
goal of $10,000. The reward 
will more than justify the 
efforts — the consciousness of 
an act lovingly and conscien- 
tiously performed." As of my 
graduation in 1916. the end of 
Sweet Briar's first decade, we 
met that $ 10,000 goal. 

The spirit and vivacity, the 
determination and finesse that 
hallmarked Sweet Briar's first 
decade, all were bom of and 
nurtured by the quiet strength 
that was Mary K. Benedict. The 

students knew this and she was 
much loved by them. It is not 
easy to analyze their deep affec- 
tion for her. She was a shy 
woman, sweet-faced, soft- 
voiced and very firm. She was 
everything to every student: 
president, dean, admissions 
officer, registrar, advisor, friend. 
She knew every girl, her back- 
ground, her problems, her inter- 
ests. She understood, she hs- 
tened, she advised, she persuad- 
ed. She was imbued with a pas- 
sionate determination to make 
Sweet Briar what the Board had 
called "a liberal arts college of 
the first rank." 

It can be easily understood 
that at that period, when many 
giris did not think of going to 
college in the first place, most 
serious students would not 
select a brand-new institution. 
This was especially true of a 
college isolated in the country 
with no body of alumnae back 
of it, no church or civic back- 
ing, no backing of any kind 
except the devotion of its own 
people, and with no money. 

Many girls came with the idea 
of enlarging their perspective 
by spending a year or two in the 
romantic background of a 
Southern plantation, a pleasant 
social life, and by a not-too- 
strenuous acquisition of knowl- 
edge. One will never know how 
many, under the influence of 
Miss Benedict, found them- 
selves filled with an eager 
desire to acquire a college edu- 
cation. Many who applied for 
entrance were not qualified for 
college status. Because of this a 
sub-freshman department was 
established, known as the 
Academy. Miss Benedict 
accepted them into the sub- 
freshman class and gave them 
the necessary courses to qualify 
for college admission. 

Miss Benedict lived by her- 
self in Sweet Briar House. She 
rejected the idea of making Mt. 
St. Angelo the home of the 
president. It was too far from 
the College: it was too big for a 
lone woman. She chose instead 
a suite of rooms on the second 
floor of Sweet Briar House. Her 

office was on the first floor of 
the old house in the beautiful 
windowed room of the east 
wing. The office of her secre- 
tary, Marion Peele, was in the 
big room ne.xt door. Mr. 
William Bland Dew, treasurer 
of the College, had his office in 
a large room behind Miss 
Peele's, divided by a counter 
with an iron grill. There stu- 
dents came to withdraw 
money — if they had any money. 
Those three officers constituted 
the administration. That was all 
there was. 

The post office was also on 
the first floor of Sweet Briar 
House. At the opposite end, the 
two parlors in the west wing 
remained parlors, filled with 
furniture, portraits and knick- 
knacks of the Fletcher and 
Williams families. These rooms 
were always open, and the girls 
were well-acquainted with 
Daisy's harp, her portrait, the 
portrait of Elijah Fletcher, the 
ormolu clock and ornaments on 
the mantelpiece, the china cat 
that sat on the hearth and 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Graduation, 1914 

Daisy's little music box. It 
stood on the base of one of the 
beautiful ceiling-high mirrors in 
the Red Parlor, and, when 
wound, sweetly tinkled out 
tunes appropriate for a little girl 
in the 1870s. 

Miss Benedict both lived 
and worked in Sweet Briar 
House, but she was very much 
a part of the life that went on in 
the College buildings a short 
distance away. She attended 
every public event; she was 
invited to every party; she 
helped as much as she could 
with every project and she 
encouraged every activity. She 
was the prompter behind the 
scenes for every dramatic pro- 
duction. She never went to bed 
at night without making a sur- 
vey of the buildings to be sure 
that all was well. As I have 
said, we loved her, and in that 
affection there was deep respect 
and admiration — and a touch of 
awe. She was a person above us 
but a part of us, easily accessi- 
ble, understanding and helpful. 
She never interfered, but she 
was never indifferent. 

In 1915-16 Miss Benedict, 
who had worked day and night, 
winter and summer, who had 
been all things to all students, 
who had dreamed and struggled 
and fought, was tired. She had 
always wanted to be a physi- 
cian, and that year she asked the 
Board to grant her partial leave 
of absence to take courses at 
Johns Hopkins. The leave was 


granted; all that year she spent 
several days a week in 
Baltimore, going and coming 
by train. She always arrived 
back at night and was met by 
students at the station in order 
to walk back with her to the 
College. When she requested 
the same arrangement for the 
following year, the request was 
refused, and the Board reached 
back to a resignation Miss 
Benedict had submitted two 
years before over a dispute con- 
cerning the lowering of 
entrance requirements. Miss 

Benedict had refused to agree to 
such a move and indicated that 
she would resign rather than 
accept it. She had won that bat- 
tle, but now the Board took the 
tentative resignation out of the 
files and accepted it. When the 
announcement was made that 
Miss Benedict was leaving the 
College and that a new presi- 
dent had been appointed, there 
was indeed "weeping and wail- 
ing and gnashing of teeth." We 
were all desolated. 

In the years to follow, Miss 
Benedict was to write: "I felt as 

— Mary Kendrick Benedict 

if I were so apart from the real 
world, so much bom and bred 
in the academic, that I did not 
know whether my dreams for 
Sweet Briar were the right ones 
or not. I felt the need for con- 
tact with hfe in the working 
world. Now that I have had it 
for many years, I can see that 
dreams are the smff that the 
world is made of. after all. ..that 
to start young people off with 
the power to dream rightly is all 

Those of us at Sweet Briar 
with Miss Benedict have always 
felt that her dreams for it were 
the stuff the College was made 
of, the foundation upon which it 
was built. 

March 2001 • 


J*\itwiVw j^PiemMh am4/ t^tOAfPw 




As my class of 1921 sang our first year: 
We are meek and humble freshmen 
To Sweet Briar we have come — 
We are overawed by the old girls 
And the seniors struck us dumb. 

I was one of those green, unsophisticated freshmen who 
stepped off the train in the fall of 1917 at the tiny Sweet Briar sta- 
tion with a crowd of other girls from places as far away as Denver 
or Rockport or Oconomowoc or as near as Richmond. Believe it or 
not some of us were accompanied by our mothers (mine among 
them) who just had to see us settled in college. We were met at the 
station by the Jewel Box, a tiny omnibus that had to make several 
trips to campus if there was a crowd getting off the train. 


By Edith Dkto'// Marshall '21 

Excerpted from her article in the Fall 1976 75"^ Anniversary Issue 

of the Alumnae Magazine 

Copy edited for length 

I ui 4iiuii^^p?^ne^^>^^i«nf< 

wefi'-itOnu^latOn^ ^i/maU' ntfww^^ in^/ite/nvi' 6^ 

Many have asked, "How 
on earth did you girls 
who came from 38 or 
more states at that period choose 
a small, young college located in 
the Blue Ridge foothills in the 
Piedmont section of Virginia?" I 
have asked dozens of my fellow 
alumnae the same question, 
"Why Sweet Briar?" and have 
had a dozen different answers: 
the low cost of $450 a year 
including board and tuition: no 
entrance examinations; small 
classes which appealed to giris 
from large high schools: the 
College was near home: friends 
recommended it: or the climate 
appealed to those, say from 
Iowa or Colorado. To some the 
curriculum appealed, or it was 
near W & L, VMI, UVA, while 
Princeton, West Point and 
Annapolis were only a day's 

train ride away. Last but not 
least, some of the midwestemers 
were drawn by the reputation of 
the new president. Dr. Emilie 
Watts McVea. 

Miss McVea's predecessor, 
young Dr. Mary K. Benedict, 
who had labored during her 
tenure to make Sweet Briar "a 
college of the first rank," 
resigned at the end of the 1915- 
1 6 term in order to continue the 
study of medicine, her early 

Despite her valiant efforts. 
Miss Benedict was frustrated by 
the fact that of the 240 students 
enrolled, less than a third were 
at college level and each year 
the College's debt increased. 
When her resignation was 
accepted, gloom and consterna- 
tion enveloped the campus, 
affecting both students and fac- 

ulty. Miss Benedict's warm 
understanding of youth and her 
consideration for others had 
won her universal affection and 
respect. As a consequence her 
successor faced an almost hos- 
tile student body, which found it 
difficult to transfer loyalties. 
Miss McVea, bom in the 
South, came to Sweet Briar 
from the University of 
Cincinnati with a wide reputa- 
tion for courage, good judg- 
ment, and great administrative 
ability. While in Cincinnati she 
had been a popular dean of 
women and associate professor 
of English. In addition to her 
university duties, she associated 
herself with almost every 
important social movement of 
the day in Cincinnati: secondary 
education; child labor: parity of 
men and women in university 

posts; enfranchisement of 
women. She served as president 
of the prestigious Cincinnati 
Women's College Club. As a 
friend said of her, "An object 
needed only to appear on the 
horizon for Emilie to order 
every sail set." In 1916 an 
"object" appeared. A young, 
small college with grave finan- 
cial problems and a tumultuous 
student body needed a presi- 

Time magazine considered 
this to be an era when women's 
intellectual capacity was not 
highly regarded, and only a few 
were thoroughly prepared to 
enter college. Newspapers 
argued the wisdom of ignoring 
the great natural laws (of 
women) and over-stimulating 
female nervous systems by 
examinations and prizes. Many 

March 2001 



One of the girls had a 

swain who landed his 

army biplane in the 

cow pasture to the 

excitement of the entire 


parents of the day considered 
one or two years away at school 
an adequate education. 

These were not EmiUe Watts 
McVea's ideas at all. She 
brought to Sweet Briar a new 
point of view and a fresh 
approach. She said. "TTie work 
of the past was to establish here 
in Virginia a first-rate college 
and the work of the future is to 

Not prepossessing in appear- 
ance. Miss McVea joked about 
her lack of ability to wear 
clothes. She was gracious, 
warm, and cordial and made the 
students feel at ease. Gradually 
she won over the students and 
faculty, who came to appreciate 
her understanding of their per- 
sonal problems. Her generous 
outgoing personality, humility, 
and burning desire to bring 

Sweet Briar into the family of 
top colleges with assured 
futures eventually endeared her 
to the faculty. She never 
swerved from her goal. 

I still treasure an Easter card 
she sent to the students: "I 
would have the graduate of 
Sweet Briar be a woman strong 
of body, sincere in thought, 
clear of vision, using the larger 
freedom of today but preserving 
the charm of the women of yes- 
terday .. .revere scholarship. . . 
know the joys of the mind. . . 
never be afraid to think. . .love 
beauty and above all have faith 
in God and good in the destiny 
of mankind." 

This was the kind of woman 
who came to carry on where her 
predecessor had left off, and she 
set to work with energy and 

The College spent a few precious dollars for a new entrance com- 
plete with iron gates. Years later the gates had to be widened to 
accommodate modern buses. Now they ore decorations at the sides. 

Gradually the curriculum 
was enriched by additional 
courses and major fields, the 
rigid entrance requirements 
were made flexible; and Miss 
McVea, a talented speaker, took 
to the road in search of money 
and qualified students. She was 
not highly successful in the first 
category but had great success 
in interesting well-prepared stu- 
dents whose goal was unques- 
tionably a college degree; in 
1 9 1 9 the Academy, started in 
Miss Benedict's time, was 

Sweet Briar diplomas from 
the beginning were accepted for 
graduate work at Cornell, Yale 
and Columbia, and in 1920-21 
Sweet Briar was welcomed into 
the family of the Southern 
Association of Colleges and 
Secondary Schools, the 
Association of American 
Colleges and Universities, and 
the American Council of 
Education. In 1921 the AAUW 
admitted Sweet Briar graduates. 
and 1 was proud to be accepted 
that fall by the Cincinnati chap- 

Other tangible evidences of 
growth were; the appointment 
(if Dr. Katherine Lummis as 
lust dean and a building pro- 
gram that included Boxwood 
Inn (1922). several faculty 
houses on Faculty Row, a resi- 
dence for kitchen help [Hill 
House], Fletcher Hall (1925) 
and the sixth domiitory, Fergus 

Naturally we were affected 
by national, state, and worid 
affairs but they seemed remote 
to us on our rural campus. 
News came only by newspaper, 
telephone, and telegraph. Radio 
was in its infancy (headphones 
and cats' whiskers). We were 
excited by such things as the 
resurfacing of the road from 
Lynchburg to Chariottesville. It 
was dedicated by cutting a rib- 
bon stretched across the road at 
Sweet Briar's entrance. The 
College spent a few precious 
dollars for a new entrance com- 
plete with iron gates. Years later 
the gates had to be widened to 
accommodate modem buses. 
Now they are decorations at the 

What was life like on cam- 
pus? What did we do? Polly 
Bissell '17 gives a brief sketch. 
"Life at Sweet Briar before 
World War I was neither com- 
plex nor sophisticated. Rules 
were strict and included no 
smoking, no drinking, no card- 
playing. Even the possession of 
a deck of cards was forbidden ! 
Lights blinked at 10:20 p.m. 
and were turned off at the 
power plant at 10:30. For any 
infringement of the rules one 
could be campused. Daily 
chapel attendance was a must, 
with only a few cuts pemiitted. 
You had to be on time for 
meals — the Refectory door was 
locked ten minutes after the bell 
rang for meals. Sometimes you 
could make a sandwich from a 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial issue 

biscuit and piece of bacon for a 
lazy roommate who missed 
breakfast. This may sound dull 
but we were accustomed to dis- 
cipline at home, and we made 
our own fun as few left campus 
on weekends. Class fights with 
classes above and below were 

staged in competition to fly our 
class banner higher than the 
others. It was a triumph when 
we could fly it above the 
Refectory, the highest point on 

"On Thanksgiving morning 
the Lynchburg Hunt Club, 

headed by Mr. Martindale in his 
red coat, led the hounds across 
Sweet Briar fields in pursuit of 
the fox. It was an exciting 
morning, especially for those 
few girls expert enough horse- 
women to be permitted to join 
the Hunt. Luncheon followed in 

the Refectory." 

The George Walker family 
lived at Mt. St. Angelo, the 
house built for Indiana 
Williams' sister Elizabeth 
Mosby. An English family, they 
welcomed us to English tea and 
tiny cookies, patties filled with 
sausage and cinnamon toast 
made with bacon drippings. 
Such delights were prepared 
each week for students who 
walked across the railroad 
tracks, through the fields and 
over the stile. The family, 12- 
strong. appeared at the 
College's church service each 
Sunday, led by Dr. Walker, tall 
and stately, and Mrs. Walker in 
her tiny white cap, followed by 
her sister Aunt Kitty. Each 
Thanksgiving the Walkers gave 
a party for the entire College. 
Dr. Walker built a huge bonfire, 
around which the girls danced 
and sang, then went into the 
house for refreshments. 

Then came World War I, 
which was "to save the world 
for democracy." Actually, life 
on campus did not change radi- 
cally. Yet this war was of deep 
significance and in time caused 
a wide-spread shift in attitudes 
toward women and women's 
attitudes toward themselves. 
Florence Ives '21 writes: "I 
have been thinking of the 
imprint that the war had on 
us. . .we used to go down to that 
lone edifice, the Sweet Briar 
station, and watch the troop 
trains for Camp Petersburg 

March 2001 



come slowly up the grade with 
boys in uniform hanging out of 
the window and giving us gig- 
gling girls the wolf call. We 
could almost touch their out- 
stretched hands as the engine 
lost steam going up the grade. 
They were so young, so full of 
laughter, but on our trek back to 
campus we wondered. "Would 
they come back home and 
would they be whole?" " 

We had plenty of food, like 
it or not, but sugar was short. 
We were warm though 
coal was ^^^£ 

1918 Admissions brochure 

1919 Field Hockey team 

scarce. Sweet Briar dairy pro- 
vided us with milk and cream: 
the apple orchards were loaded 
with fruit. Professor Josephine 
Simrall taught a course on war 
psychology which I was 
allowed to take as a more 
mature lowerclassman. 1 can 
feel the scorn now of my upper- 
class roommate at my naivete in 
matters of soldiers' sex prob- 
lems. There was growth that 
year among the innocent! We 
organized a Red Cross, rolled 
bandages, knitted socks and 
sweaters by the dozen and 
packed kit bags for our boys. 

One of the girls had a swain 
who landed his army biplane 
in the cow pasture to the 
excitement of the entire 
countryside. We wrote let- 
ters to our beaus and as a 
patriotic duty, even to men 
we did not know. The 
linen room in Gray was 
the spot where we 
picked up our mail and 
answered calls on the 
one telephone for all 
dormitories. We sang 
"Over There " and 
Then came the 
killer influenza 
pandemic. We 
were campused 
for almost one 
year. No one 
left campus 
except for an emergency. Dr 
Mary Harley, bless her heart, 
watched us like a mother hen. 

She stood at the foot of the 
stairs in Academic each morn- 
ing and yanked up our skirts to 
see if we were wearing panties. 
No panties: back to the dorm to 
put some on. She grabbed us 
indiscriminately on campus and 
made us stick out our tongues 
to see if our throats were red. 
We took care of each other in 
our rooms, the infirmary over- 
flowed. We held prayer meet- 
ings in Senior Study; we prayed 
especially for one girl who 
nearly died of pneumonia. She 
lived. Dr. Harley did not lose a 
single person on campus when 
thousands were dying across the 
country. When we were 
released to go home at 
Christmas, Miss McVea gave us 
stem orders to wear veils close- 
ly tied over our faces and never 
to take off our gloves until we 
reached home! 

During the war the Sweet 
Briar community contributed 
$10,000 to the United Fund 
Drive and $19,500 for the Red 
Cross and Student Friendship 
Fund. Most donations came 
from slender allowances (mine 
was $5 a month) and from prof- 
its made selling sandwiches. 
Hershey bars, and cake slices 
begged from the College 

Classes went on as usual. 
Plays were given — The 
Ripplers and The Merry Jesters 
outdid themselves. One final 
play was unforgettable: Percy 
McKaye's A Thousand Years 

Ago. It was held in Sweet Briar 
gardens at dusk among the box- 
woods and apple trees and 
smoke trees at the height of 
their glory. There was a full 
moon and a heaven full of stars 
for a canopy. 

Then there was Bhtff. a 
musical comedy. When Helen 
Beeson "20 and Russee Blanks 
'21 danced the Galli-Curci Rag, 
accompanied on the piano by 
ragtime queen Flo Freeman ' 19, 
they brought down the house. 

The Briar Patch came out 
each spring, printed by J.P. Bell 
Co.. Lynchburg. We hounded 
Lynchburg businesses and our 
parents for advertisements to 
help defray expenses. The 
Sweet Briar Magazine was a 
serious literary effort. The 
YWCA published the 
Handbook, which listed all 
rules and regulations so that 
students could not unknowingly 
go wrong. The administration 
issued a Student Directory. 

Sports were always a big 
thing. Sister classes vied with 
each other in basketball and 
field hockey. An hour of exer- 
cise daily was required and a 
report was filed. In retrospect 
we could have been glamorous 
in our white middy blouses, 
headbands, and heavy serge 
bloomers. On Field Day we 
valiantly dashed and jumped, 
trying to break College records. 
Lake Day was fun. We raced 
our heavy rowboats (canoes 
came later), and swam right 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Lillias Shepherd '22 

down to the dam. Ellen Wolfe 
"2 ! made it one year in eight 
minutes, 32 '/: seconds. 

A few girls brought horses to 
college but the rest of us had to 
be satisfied with the horses 
rented from the Ainherst livery 
stables. Miss Eugenie Morenus, 
a math teacher, was a familiar 
figure on her horse ■"Dolly." She 
often chaperoned girls on long 
rides. I recall one memorable 
ride with her to High Peak. 

Founders' Day in October 
honored the Williams and 
Fletcher families. Robed by 
freshmen, seniors wore their 
caps and gowns for the first 
time. To the strains of "Ancient 
of Days," they solemnly 
marched to the chapel in 
Manson to hear a talk by an 
eminent speaker and another by 
Mr. Manson, who annually 
related stories about Sweet 
Briar's founding family. 

Even during the war. 
Founders' Day prom took place 
in the Refectory; "Dardanella" 
was a favorite dance tune. At 
the stroke of midnight, the 

music stopped dead: the boys 
had to leave. Some had to sleep 
in the station, waiting for the 
next train. 

Florence Ives continues her 
comments. "Yet there was a 
serious vein under all our out- 
ward gaiety. We were growing 
in our concept of the meaning 
of our lives and our develop- 
ment as persons. Sweet Briar 
encouraged us to place empha- 
sis on things that mattered. 
President McVea's chapel talks 
were of great beauty, and Mrs. 
Worthington's study class on 
Harry Emerson Fosdick's 
"Meaning of Prayer" left an 
indelible impression. We were 
not completely isolated. 
Outstanding lecturers of nation- 
al standing and superb musi- 
cians were brought to campus. 
The voice of Rosa Ponselle and 
the violin of young Yehudi 
Menuhin thrilled and channed 
us. One year we had a poet-in- 
residence, Australian Tom 
Skeyhill; we thought him very 

"Many campus rules of that 

day seem petty to us today and 
irked us even then; yet in retro- 
spect the rightness of the 
College program was Uke the 
friendly strength and beauty of 
the Blue Ridge Mountains 
beyond the lake. We were 
steered toward fine ideals and 
will never forget the inspiration 
we received from the finest fac- 
ulty we could have had any- 

November 9, 1918: the fire- 
bells rang — we all dashed to the 
Quadrangle. There was Miss 
McVea standing on the running 
board of a Model T Ford. In a 
vigorous voice she announced, 
"Armistice! The war is over! 
Peace reigns!" 

^^n^dU Ham^ — we^ all 
doAhni to' the/ Q.MU!(M/n/^. 

if(Mn^»fa/pls4d' T JshcO. 

Iw 0/ ViA^HwA^ VGiCi/ ihC/ 

m\M/sVJnC(A/, "^^iMrwiUcf/] 

March 2001 • 


^a/mt' Wt««. Tn^;^ <^a^, ^ M/«^^^^ (5>»^ CrtAf' at- t/i^. 

Isolated as we were with no 
radios or TV. we did not know 
until four days later that 
November 9 was a false report, 
that the actual signing was 
November 11. 1918. 

One of my most unforget- 
table memories of the war's end 
came during a spring vacation 
at Old Point Comfort with my 
family. We learned that a con- 
tingent of Cincinnati troops was 
to land at Newport News. With 
several other Cincinnati girls 
(and my Uncle John as chaper- 

one). we met the ship at the 
dock. What a tired, dirty bunch 
of boys, so glad to be back and 
so glad to see girls from home. 
They had a five-mile march to 
their camp, and we marched 
and talked to them the whole 
way. 1 still have a picture to 
prove it. 

Jane Becker '25 said to me 
one day when 1 was trying to 
pick her memory. "One hears of 
gazing into a crystal ball to 
glimpse the future. How about 
lookine at it in reverse? Peer 

jg^m. - irr- ^ 




'^^Mk' _/^i^f^ Jf^^kv 

► t^ 


*'*^ 3JK ^^^fc^^^^'^ ^^/^B^^^^^^^H 







backwards for flashbacks of 
events in our lives at Sweet 
Briar when we were young." 
Taking her advice: 

• October 1917. The great 
aurora borealis that illuminated 
the entire northern hemisphere. 

In Carson and Manson we 
hung out of windows all night, 
fascinated by the beauty of that 
spectacular display of undulat- 
ing streams of colored light 
flashing into the heavens from 
behind the Blue Ridge. 

• The frigid w inter of 1917 
when the lake froze over and 
we sent home for ice skates. 
Mine are still at the bottom of 
the lake where an inexperienced 
girl from the South dropped 

• What fun sliding down the 
dell slopes on trays borrowed 
from the Refectory. 

• When spring came: taking 
swimming tests in the "Pen" 
before being allowed in deep 

w ater. Lucky we were not 
dragged to the bottom and 
drowned in our thick bathing 
suits — shirts, bloomers and long 
black stockings. 

• Step-singing with the sen- 
iors on the Golden Stairs. 

• Picking apples along 
Sunset Road on crisp October 

• Walking to the monument 
through woods brilliant with 
autumn colors and wearing silly 
w hite aprons and pigtails tied 
with green bows, the freshman 

• Having to sign up for the 
bathtub (only one tub on each 

• Seeing Romeo, the night 
watchman, clomping through 
the halls with his lantern swing- 

We thought nothing of walk- 
ing three miles to Amherst and 
three miles back, for waffles or 
cake at the Robinson house or 
for chicken dinners at Mrs. 
Wills'. There was buggy- 
dashing from Amherst in an 
antique vehicle pulled by a 
reluctant plug from the stable. 
After a rare snow we might ride 
back to campus in a wooden 
sleigh with bells. In Amherst, 
remember the black woman 
who sold our old clothes for us 
when our allowances ran out? 
And tiny Hairpin, who danced 
jigs in the dusty street for pen- 
nies? Recall those few girls 
who were expelled for smok- 
ing? Don't forget the boxes 
from home. My mother sent 
delicious mince pies, which 
lasted exactly five minutes after 
the box came. 

Who can forget the pink 
azaleas along the lake? And 
those Cash woven name tapes? 
The six a.m. train to Lynchburg 
which during the war. slowed 
down at the SBC station so that 
we could hop on? They said 
they were saving coal. No 
stores were open at the ungodly 
hour of our arrival in town, so 
we went to the YWCA for 
breakfast or to the Virginian 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

j^ Sweet Briar scenes 

from the early 1 920s 

Hotel where for 75 cents we 
had fruit, cereal, toast, bacon, 
coffee and fingerbowls. 
Craighill and Jones' Drug Store 
kept a bulletin board for our 
messages. We always wore hats 
to town. Once I bought an ele- 
gant hat with the back flipped 
up and pink roses sewed 
beneath the brim. 

D. B. Ryland was the jewel- 
er who sold us our class rings. 
At that time four different 
shanks were used, each one fea- 
turing a class mascot. One used 
a peacock (Miss Indie's pea- 
cock strutted in the gardens for 
years); a swan decorated anoth- 
er (swans were in the lake for a 
long time): the great oak was 
displayed on the third shank, 
and the fourth showed the 
columns of Academic. The 
stones in the rings were lapis 
lazuli, green jade, black onyx 
and amethyst. The Sweet Briar 
seal was carved into each stone. 

Back to the crystal ball: 

We see the Refectory on the 
night of Robert E. Lee's birth- 
day, when the girls from the 
South stood and sang "Dixie": 
the girls from the North sang 
"Yankee Doodle." The faculty 
then sang the "Star Spangled 
Banner": peace reigned. 

How excited we were when 
our hockey team won the 
Virginia championship and the 
team's picture was in the NY 
Times rotogravure. One of the 
girls received 50 fan letters — 
from men! Remember the 

thump-thump of our trunks 
banging down the dorm steps, 
meaning we were going home? 
And at dawn on the day we left 
for Christmas, the Glee Club 
and Choir waking us with 
Christmas carols, and fastening 
to our coats the bits of mistletoe 
that Betty Cole "21 had shot 
down from the trees with her 
.22 rifle? 

Then came the Roaring 
Twenties. Changing mores were 
reflected on campus in relax- 
ation of some old restraints. 
Bromleys (middy suits) were 
out. and puffed-out hairdos and 
high-laced shoes: shorter hair, 
rolled stockings, ripple-tailed 
sweaters, teddies and shorter 
skirts were in. We sang 
"Whispering" and "Araby" and 
danced cheek-to-cheek. We read 
Edna St. Vincent Millay and 
Sinclair Lewis. Women's atti- 
tudes toward education were 
changing. Many more stayed to 
graduate instead of being "fin- 
ished" in two years. We were 
encouraged to go home after 
graduation and work for civic 
betterment in our communities. 
Miss McVea went so far as to 
suggest making provision for 
smoking. "It's coming." she 
said. But the faculty said, "No! 
No! No!" 

A drive for more endowment 
in 1920 was disappointing: 
$95,000 was raised instead of 
the million hoped for By 1925 
enrollment had reached 450. 

To Dr. Mary Harley's joy. 

the infirmary into which she 
had poured heart and soul, was 
completed. She had long 
planned to have the last word in 
equipment and decoration. 
Several parents, grateful for the 
care of their daughters, aided 
generously in making her 
dreams come true. 

The Yellow Peril, a large 
omnibus for meeting trains, was 
purchased, manned by Bus 
Rhea, a jolly, likable individual. 

Now out of uniform, men were 
flocking back to campus: infor- 
mal dancing in the gym 
Saturday nights livened week- 

Dr. Will Walker often drove 
a car full of girls over the 
awful, twisting mountain road 
to Lexington for hops at VMI 
and dances at W&L. Still prop- 
erly chaperoned, the girls stayed 
overnight in accredited board- 
ing houses operated by genteel 

March 2001 • 


ladies in reduced circumstances. 

Miss McVea said siie had lit- 
tle to regret about the conduct 
of Sweet Briar students and 
credited it to the College 
Council as well as to the grow- 
ing maturity of the students 
themselves. In 1921 women got 
the vote. By absentee ballot, 1 
voted for Warren G. Harding. 
(Sony that he did not live up to 
our expectations.) Mr 
Martindale notarized my ballot 
and when he found out for 
whom I had voted commented 
that had he known I was a 
Republican he would not have 
notarized my ballot! 

Prohibition had come in and 
Sweet Briar debated Randolph- 
Macon on the subject. I forgot 
which side we took, but we 
won. Dr. Ivan MacDougall, the 
redheaded fireball sociology 
and economics professor, kept 

the girls' interest at high pitch 
in the International Relations 
Club. He wangled a grant from 
the Carnegie Foundation to pay 
for outstanding speakers at 
Sweet Briar. 

The first foreign student, 
Antoinette Malet '20 arrived 
from France and soon after 
Yelena Grigitsch from 
Yugoslavia. They were forerun- 
ners of many foreign students 
coming to the College. 

The College's influence was 
becoming felt in the area more 
and more. Students participated 
in activities at the Indian 
Mission, where they taught and 
played games with children of 
mixed blood, Indian, Negro, 
and white, whose forebears had 
settled in the mountains long 
before the Revolution. 

Miss McVea, believing that 
Town and Gown should not be 

separated, decided that it was 
time that the twain should meet. 
She became a member of the 
Amherst County Council of 
Safety. She organized a cunent 
events club among the women 
of the County, In 1922 she initi- 
ated Amherst County Day, 
inviting the entire county popu- 
lation to visit campus for 
games, oratory and refresh- 
ments. It was a big success and 
continued at Sweet Briar until 
1 974 when it was taken over by 
the Amherst Chamber of 
Commerce. The day included 
cattle judging, flower shows, 
jousting tournaments, and pro- 
grams on child care and public 

I would be remiss not to 
include one of the highlights of 
this era. May Day. The prettiest, 
most popular (and brainiest) 
senior was elected by popular 
vote to be May Queen. 
Elegantly gowned, she and her 
Court walked with dignity 
across the Boxwood Circle to 
be seated on a flower-decorated 
platform facing Sweet Briar 
House. They were entertained 
by music and a maypole dance 
with giris properly dressed (in 
crepe paper) for the event. 
Heaven forbid that it rain ! 
Being transferred to the 
Refectory would spoil it all! 
From the Boxwood Circle the 
Court and audience u^ailed to 
the West Dell and sat on the 
lawn to be further entertained 
by a pageant. 

Each year the girls' gowns 
were different, of silks and 
satins (organdy during the war 
years). Each year a different 
pageant was given, beginning 
with the first one in 1907. One 
year it was Elizabethan: one 
year Milton's L' Allegro was 
adapted by Professor Simrall; 
and Miss Sparrow of the history 
department wrote The Virginia 
Woods. Players and barefoot 
dancers in flowing chiffon tip- 
toed through the little stream 
that flows through the Dell. 

That night was The Dance, 
all formal with dance cards and 
dangling pencils. Dance figures 
were led by the May Queen and 
her Court. It was a thrilling 
affair for those who attended 
but not for those who wistfully 
watched from the balcony 
because they had no swains to 
take them. 

Miss McVea, never strong 
physically, was forced by ill 
health to resign in 1924. She 
returned to North Carolina, 
where she had lived as a child 
and young woman. She died in 

1 feel it fitting to end this 
with a brief mention of a few of 
those people who so influenced 
our lives, those faculty and staff 
we recall with much love and 

There were the William 
Dews, College treasurer and 
friend for 36 years — Mrs. Dew 
wannly welcomed us to their 
home and we all loved Polly 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

them/ cwmi/ the/ [^saMm/y fiMemtiM'. Ohmu^mf TrusHe^' 

leM^uiimM: I3'i»rnk/i^ (mitWi^ mM-) wehC/ <sh^, aruC 

hm^, 'uMciO ■itockjim^, *Ufiple/-t<uled' iweaieM; ieMMA 
omA/ ifvMeA^ ikMi' weM/ in/. 


Carey and Billy, their children; 
Hugh Worthington, belovedly 
called Pop, tall and lanky, who 
labored with us through French, 
and Mrs. Worthington who 
added to our spiritual welfare 
with her classes on prayer; Dr 
Thomas, the College chaplain; 
the inimitable Elizabeth 
Czamomska, eccentric, brilliant 
and a rare teacher It was she 
who secretly gathered a few of 
the outstanding upperclass 
pupils together and formed a 
secret society, Tau Phi. Her 
intention was that it would be 
the nucleus for Phi Beta Kappa, 

which she was positive eventu- 
ally would come to Sweet Briar. 
Sororities had been rejected but 
there were cliques here and 
there, composed particularly by 
girls on the same hall. 

There were the Crawfords 
(not related): Miss Carolyn, 
who taught us to sing, and Miss 
Lucy, whose quotes are in The 
Best of Lucifer, Miss Cara 
Gascoigne, the English coach 
who trained our celebrated 
hockey team; Ruth Howland, 
beloved by biology majors; 
Miss Gay Patteson; Leonora 
Neuffer, who persuaded me to 

major in chenristry (marvelous 
teacher). Dorothy Wallace "19 
received her background for a 
career in chemistry at Sweet 
Briar and became a teacher and 
scientist. She was one who 
worked on the atomic bomb 
project at Stagg Field. Chicago. 
She wrote, "Sweet Briar gave 
me a foundation for happy liv- 
ing with my work as well as my 
pleasure. Sweet Briar made my 
Ufe so rich." 

So as the song goes: 

Those were the days 

my friend, 
We thought they'd never end, 
We 'd sing and dance forever 

and a day. 
We 'd live the life we 'd choose. 
We 'd fight and never lose, 
For we were young and 
Sure to have our way! 

Those were the days, my 
friends. And to sum it up, 
"We've come a long way, 

March 2001 





If I had to find two words which summed up 
the dominant influence on the decade 1926- 
1936, it would be Meta Glass. She became 
Sweet Briar's third president in July 1925 at a 
time when the world was plunging in and out of 
drastic moods. For the first few years, there was 
tension and frenzy to get rich quick, rise to the 
top, buy stocks on margin, dance the Charleston, 
circumvent Prohibition at the peephole in a 
speakeasy door. It was the time of Clara Bow 
and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the age of the flapper 
and the tycoon. 

By Julia Sadler deColigny "34 

Excerpted from her article in the Fall 1976 Aimiversaiy Issue of 

the Alumnae Magazine 

Copy edited for length 


p ,.^ 

^, n 


Kite 1 li wT^^^^K 


rii " ""^SS?^ 







The spiral of materialism 
spun right into the crash 
of "29. when fortunes 
were lost overnight; men leaped 
from skyscraper windows, and 
the bewildered world was 
plunged into the deepest depres- 
sion this country has ever 
known. Stock losses between 
1929 and 1931 amounted to $51 
billion. There were no jobs: 
Ph.Ds were going around 
threadbare at the elbows, selling 
pencils or apples on the street. 
Some of us who were of limited 
resources from the start hardly 
noticed, but others had to learn 
to live all over again. The call of 
"sanichez" reverberated through 
the dorms at the 10:00-10:30 
Quiet Hour break; shampoos 
and finger waves, we called 
them, were given at 25 cents per 
head (bring your own soap and 
towel); hems were put in for a 

pnce; vacations were spent on 
campus (which proved to be 
some of the best times) and we 
would do almost anything to 
remain in college. Even so. 
some couldn't make it and either 
dropped out entirely or took a 
semester or so at State U. and 
came back to finish. 

Fees were raised from $800 
to $ 1 .000. apologetically and 
with the understanding that if 
one had entered at the lower fee 
and it worked a hardship, she 
could complete her education at 
the lower figure. It was 
announced in the April 20, 1932 
Sweei Briar News that 20 stu- 
dent waitress jobs would be 
available in Reid. for the first 
time ever There was apprehen- 
sion about taking employment 
from the mountain girls who 
lived in Hill House, but the deci- 
sion was made in an effort to 

Dr. Meta Glass, 1934 

enable students to remain in col- 
lege. It took only a short time to 
adjust to the idea, and waitress 
jobs remained popular. 

Seldom was mention made in 
print on campus of the economic 
condition of the country. We 
were all living it, so why talk 
about it? But an editorial by 
Charlotte Magoffin '32 on 
January 14, 1932, entitled 
HAPPY NEW YEAR! gives a 

Experts tell us repeatedly 
that the crisis of the depression 
will be reached in 1932, and the 
tide will turn upward. When we 
hear this, we wonder how condi- 
tions can become any worse 
than they are. and wait idly for 
the eventfid day when we can be 
told that the bottom has been 

That bottom was not reached 
for more than a year — after 
Herbert Hoover had been defeat- 
ed and Franklin D. Roosevelt 
had ushered in The New Deal. 
To celebrate Roosevelt's victory 

there was a torchlight parade on 
campus, and over 200 left cam- 
pus to attend his inauguration. 
One of the first acts of his 
administration furnished the bot- 
tom we were looking for On 
March 6, 1933, a bank holiday 
was declared, and what assets 
families had left after The Crash 
were fi'ozen instantaneously, 
leaving them without cash for 

Other major events in the 
news had their impact on our 
thinking in those days: Charles 
Lindbergh, having accomplished 
the remarkable feat of crossing 
the Atlantic alone on May 20, 
1927, in his "Spirit of St. 
Louis," was an important hero 
of our time. His shy and modest 
ways, his courtship and marriage 
to Anne Morrow, and the birth 
of their first child provided us 
with a good, clean, positive 
model in sharp contrast to gang- 
sters such as Al Capone and 
John Dillingen No literate per- 
son was spared the horror, out- 

An outing in 1927 

March 2001 • 


By Sally Shallenberger '32 

(Sara Shallenberger Brown) 

Reprinted from the December 1931 Alumnae Magazine 

Campus life — it begins with the familiar but always star- 
tling laundry whistle and ends with the 10:30 bell. 
Between dawn and the time Mr. Beard goes around col- 
lecting mail and stray bits of information on our nightlife, 
the interests of students lead them into different types of 
campus activity. 

There are two places which figure in the daily existence of 
every girl — the dell and the post office, unless she is con- 
fined by illness in the luxury of Dr. 
Harley's infirmary. The alluring nature of 
the post office is as obvious as it is eter- 
nal. Even the spaciousness of the new 
building does not prevent a mob scene 
when the mail is put up. But the attrac- 
tion of the dell is not limited to any par- 
ticular time. Whether the temperature 
calls for summer dresses or raccoon 
coats, whether classes are in session or 
not, the dell is never without its clusters 
of girls who sit about, cigarette in hand, 
discussing everything from a dreaded 
quiz or an anticipated weekend, to 
Kant's categorical imperative. The dell 
has become the successor to Bus Rhea's 
for discussions as well as smoking. Two 
years ago the charm of the little old 
smoke-filled barn with its atmosphere of intimacy and its 
iron stove around which we huddled on cold afternoons 
was worth walking the advertised mile. 

The Boxwood Inn is next in rank of those places where an 
observer may take a strategic position to behold campus 
life. The Depression has not decreased the number of 
morning dissipaters spending time over coca-colas and 
cookies. The Tea House temptation is as strong as ever to 
the exhausted bloomer-clod procession that straggles up 
the hill from the lower hockey field in the afternoons. The 
Inn continues to be the scene of teas with one's favorite 
teachers and of surprise birthday parties. Somehow that 
Boxwood specialty, chicken and waffles, is still on enticing 

Strangers often ask in disparaging tones what on earth we 
find to do at a college "way out in the country." At Sweet 

Briar our isolated campus affords a means of self-expres- 
sion for every girl. The nature addicts have round them the 
constantly changing panorama of the foothills of the Blue 
Ridge Mountains. Those whose athletic tendencies ore lim- 
ited to walking have an innumerable choice of little hidden 
paths through the pine forests, over rustic stiles and 
Virginia rail fences. The even less energetic exercisers find 
satisfaction in the windy road to the orchard. The book- 
worm is equally well provided for. She can spend her 

spare time in the Browsing Room. Even 
those truant readers are better acquaint- 
ed with the interior of the reading room 
than with any other part of the library, 
for, contrary to the opinion of outsiders 
who are impressed only by the name 
"Sweet Briar" and its suggestion of pas- 
toral insouciance, the library is the most 
frequented building on campus. 

On weekends, it is true, our propensity 
to study is not so obvious. Both students 
and campus discard their rural simplici- 
ty for a few signs of metropolitonism. 
High heels and stockings replace the 
''■'»/^ usual socks and tie-oxfords; many road- 
sters, some long and racy, others not so 
long and not at all racy — file through 
the gates post Mr. Beard's faultless vision. The polo-coated 
passengers from nearby institutions of masculine education 
disembark, and each, accompanied by a Sweet Briar girl, 
form on endless Big Parade between the Quadrangle and 
the old oak tree when the weekly gym in the Common 
Room is over. 

Shortly after the 10:30 bell, when the roar of the depart- 
ing cars has subsided, the quiet is disturbed only by a few 
faint sounds from the radios of the Guy Lombardo fans 
and by a hushed murmur of voices engaged in some all- 
important bull session. A circle of friends — a difference of 
opinions — the first experiences of defending one's own 
ideas — all lead to decisions that mold our characters into 
what we are now and more important, into what we will 
be after we have scattered. 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

rage, shock, and grief when the 
country was electrified with the 
news that the Lindbergh baby 
had been kidnapped from his 
crib on March 1. 1932, and 
found dead on May 12. Our 
campus was no exception. 

Since we were not surfeited 
with news coverage every hour 
of the day as we are today, only 
a few other events stand out: the 
birth of the Dionne Quintuplets 
on May 28. 1934. in Callender, 
Ontario, and all the ministrations 
of Dr. Dafoe: the death of Will 
Rogers in a plane crash with 
Wiley Post in Alaska on August 
15. 1935: the abdication of 
Edward VIII on December 1 1 , 
1 936. "for the woman I love." 

Before the decade was out 
we realized that the teaching of 
the GeiTnan language had sud- 
denly claimed major attention. 
Irene Huber joined our faculty, 
and with customary Germanic 
vigor and enthusiasm, started off 
with explanations of what was 

happening to the youth of 
Germany under the inspired 
leadership of a young man 
named Adolf Hitler. He was 
cleaning up the streets, giving 
youth a program of purposeful- 
ness and physical fitness. She 
had just returned from a summer 
in her homeland, and was highly 
enthusiastic. She taught us all to 
pronounce that wonderfully 
expressive and guttural language 
by having us sing German 
songs. The best one for her pur- 
poses, she said, was the Horst 
Wessel song, "Die Fahne Hoch, 
die Reihen sind gestossen." 
Neither the words nor the tune 
are as finely etched on my mem- 
ory as they were some 40 years 
ago, but they are still there, and I 
remember how we sprayed each 
other in our enthusiasm for per- 
fect pronunciation. We watched 
her loyalty and fire change from 
complete confidence to doubt to 
bonification over what the 
Hitler Youth Movement became. 

Left, the old library in 
what became the 
Music Box. 
Below, Mary Helen 
Cochran Library under 
construction, 1929 

a maniacal nightmare. 

All our world, though not at 
war, was in the midst of a rather 
hysterical peace, followed by a 
hopeless depression when 
respectable well-educated men 
went on relief or were thankful 
to get jobs in one of those alpha- 
betical agencies which sprang 
up, Uke the WPA, NRA. CCC— 
and women were glad enough to 
stay home and cook, if they just 
had something to cook. 

This was our world during 
the first ten years of Miss Glass' 
presidency. As an educational 
institution Sweet Briar had been 
making steady progress for 20 
years under Miss Benedict and 
Miss McVea. There was justifi- 
able pride in the miraculous 
achievements of the founders 
and first leaders under seeming- 
ly insumiountable obstacles, but 
now it was ready to take a posi- 
tion in the forefront of women's 
education. In spite of the luxuri- 
ous appearance which had firm- 
ly fixed the "finishing school" 
image. Sweet Briar had very lit- 
tle endowment, which made it 
even more difficult for Miss 
Glass to progress along the lines 
of academic excellence which 
she had in mind. The lifestyle, 
the sun^oundings, and a feeling 
of community were in her favor, 
but the strongest thing she had 
going for her was the bearing of 
the lady herself. She was always 
a presence, and her stately being 
dominated the campus from the 
first. If you were not privileged 

to merit her approval, at least 
you quickly learned to try to 
avoid her derision. She was 
omnipresent. She was in charge. 
Whether conducting church 
services, speaking at convoca- 
tion, conferring with a faculty 
member about an academic pro- 
gram, discussing disciplinary 
measures with student govern- 
ment leaders, having dinner at 
the faculty table in the 
Refectory, reading stories in the 
Browsing Room in Negro and 
mountain dialects, or just swing- 
ing her cane as she walked with 
her Irish setter. Red. from 
Fletcher to Sweet Briar House, 
no one had any doubt where she 
stood, and it was a challenge to 
be in her proximity. There was 
nothing casual about Meta 
Glass. The Class of '26 dedicat- 
ed the Briar Patch to her for 
their pride in her being our pres- 
ident and their confidence in 
what she would do for the 

She did not fail them. She 
brought us prestige at home and 
abroad. She was president of the 
Association of Virginia 
Colleges. She was national pres- 
ident of the American 
Association of University 
Women and on numerous boards 
and committees of national and 
international import. The 
Southern Association of 
Colleges threatened to withdraw 
our accreditation because of our 
limited endowment, so there was 
an all-out campaign with a 

March 2001 • 


May Day, 1935 

national director of publicity. 
After struggling with and getting 
remarkably good response to the 
campaign, it was calculated that 
upon payment of debts we had 
already incurred for Reid dormi- 
tory and four stucco faculty 
houses on the pasture side of 
Faculty Row, we could show 
only $87,900 in assets accept- 
able to the Southern Association 
toward the $800,000 we needed. 
The announcement of those 
grim facts was made to the 
Board on the eve of the stock 
market crash in "29. Perhaps we 
were saved by everybody's 

With insufficient endowment 
and little chance to improve it, it 
was felt that the preservation of 
a strong teaching faculty must 
take precedence over the repair- 

ing of gutters. It is a tribute to 
the teamwork of Miss Glass and 
Dean Emily Button that of the 
score of strong faculty appoint- 
ments made during that time, 1 8 
stayed on to retirement. They 
instituted the study-abroad pro- 
grams, interdepartmental majors, 
the team-taught course Classical 
Civilization and reading for hon- 

Our beautiful, brilliant Edith 
Railey "32 was the first to enroll 
in the Foreign Smdy Plan of the 
University of Delaware and 
wrote to Pop Worthington that 
she had never before known 
what work was — 18 hours per 
day just trying to keep up. She 
said they had put her in the top 
group by mistake, but when her 
year at the Sorbonne was over 
she was still there and it was no 

mistake. The following year 
Dorothy Brett, Isabel Wade, Gail 
Shepard and Langhome Watts 
[all Class of "33] were enrolled 
under the Delaware Plan and we 
became regular participants. Our 
first exchange with St. Andrews 
University in Scotland began 
with Mary Walton McCandlish, 
Alice Shirley and Katharine 
Williams [all Class of "34] in 
1932-33. That same year Delia 
Ann Taylor "34 was the first to 
study in Germany. Marcia 
Patterson "32 in Latin and Edith 
Railey in French were the first 
to read for honors. 1 will never 
forget Jean Myers "34 and my 
pioneering in comps in our cho- 
sen fields of interrelation in 
Revolution and Romanticism, a 
wonderful opportunity to con- 
ceptualize but a little awkward 

to insert in the blanks on grad 
school applications. We took our 
exams in Salvo Mangiafico"s 
living room in Garden Cottage, 

Fortunately, because the 
College was not getting its 
money from income endowment 
investment, we did not suffer 
immediately from the depres- 
sion, except that it was hard to 
get cash from those who did! 
Because we had acquired pres- 
tige without charging commen- 
surate fees, during the worst 
years of the depression we had 
record-breaking applications and 
admissions. The fall of 1930 we 
admitted 209 new students, hav- 
ing processed 770 applications. 
Counting on many we accepted 
not taking their places, we were 
forced to use every bed in walk- 
ing distance of campus for the 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Freshman apron, 1926 

freshmen (Ma Jordan's, the 
Blackwells". the Worthington's. 
the Ramages" and Sweet Briar 
House) because they fooled us 
and came. But that class was a 
victim of the bank holiday; only 
68 graduated. Not only were 
applicants plentiful, they were 
smart. In the tlrst ACE testing of 
sophomores. Sweet Briar 
showed the highest percentiles 
of women's colleges in the 
South and among the top ten in 
the nation. We consistently 
remained above the 70th per- 
centile nationally. Brains were 
not what we felt we needed 
most. I remember a funereal 
procession around the Refectory 
when the Class of '34 displayed 
a banner "The Class of Brains 
Without Beauty." But we 
mushed along, and most of us 
married and begat! 

Miss Glass had never meant 
to launch a building program, 
but that's where she found her- 
self even when finances were at 
their tightest. In 1927 Sweet 
Briar House caught fire, and 
expensive damages had to be 

It was thanks to a gift from 
the Carnegie Corporation and 
the generosity of Board member 
Fergus Reid that the library was 
built, named to honor Mr. Reid's 
mother, Mary Helen Cochran. 

There was a total of 20,000 
volumes in the library's posses- 
sion when it was housed in the 
little wooden building destined 
to become next The Music Box 


- ^/ 

']| -^ 

7^ . 

and then faculty apartments. 
Books were scattered in five dif- 
ferent departments and there was 
hardly room for users to sit 
down in the main library. The 
number had increased to 30,000 
by the time they moved into the 
new building in September 1928 
and by 1935, the number had 
grown to 40,000 (less than one- 
fourth of the 165,000 our library 
has in 1976). 

It was thanks to the efforts of 
students to raise money for a 
gymnasium, going on since 
1923, that $82,000 was collected 
for the Daisy Williams 
Gymnasium. The cornerstone 
was laid in June 1931 with 
Daisy's playmate Signora 
Hollins and Miss Glass' niece 
and editor of Daisy 's Diary, 
Margaret Banister '16. partici- 
pating. At that time, the News 
carried a plea that if the $20,000 
in pledges could be collected 
they could go ahead and add the 
swimming pool. 


Thanks to the splendid efforts 
of Jessie Fraser, professor of his- 
tory and chainnan of the Book 
Shop Committee of the Faculty, 
the new facility housing the 
Book Shop, post office and four 
faculty apartments was built 
across the road from Boxwood 
Inn. completely paid for and 
supported by the apartment 
rentals. All this was in addition 
to money provided for an annual 
prize for the best student book 
collection and a Book Shop 
Scholarship Loan Fund. 

The frame garages on up 
Elijah Road from The Music 
Box were built during that time 
with no faint hint that later they 
would house the nursery school 
and the education department. 

This was the decade when 
things got so grim in the outside 
world that we had to learn to 
laugh at ourselves and make the 
most of being where we were. 
The faculty did a great deal to 
make us feel close. The week 

could easily be filled by going to 
faculty At Homes. Tuesday was 
the day claimed by President 
Glass; when she was fairly new 
in her job she even sent out 
handwritten cards. Later her 
invitation was carried in the 
News. Harriet Rogers and Lucy 
Crawford at Red Top were 
joined briefly by Dora Neill 
Raymond, and their Thursday 
afternoons were the source of 
great joy, both gustatory and 
cerebral, for many years. The 
Barkers. Joe and Jeanne, 
claimed Fridays to the delight 
and comfort of students not only 
of French but of other disci- 
plines as well. And many more 
opened their hearts and homes to 
students on a less regular basis. 
It gradually developed that 
every good and serious eft'ort 
had its counterpart in something 
ridiculous. For Paint and Patches 
there sprang into being the Aints 
and Asses for the sole purpose 
of consoling those who tried out 
but didn't succeed in getting into 
Paint and Patches, but could be 
clever enough to create and exe- 
cute takeoffs on P&P's serious 
dramatic productions. An exam- 
ple of this was a hysterical ren- 
dition (we thought) of "Seize 
Her and Pat by Pshaw!", fol- 
lowing on the heels of a fine 
production of Shaw's Caesar 
and Cleopatra. After P&P's 
creditable production of King 
Argimines and tlie Unknown 
Warrior Aints and Asses gave 
"Agar Agar and Mr. X." These 

March 2001 • www.alumnae.sbc. edu 


takeoffs became so popular that 
Paint and Patches made the 
Aints and Asses schedule their 
performances so that they were 
free to see them. 

For a long time Tau Phi was 
the only honorary society. 
Invitation to its membership was 
based on academic achievement, 
plus a general overall concern 
for the cultural and intellectual 
atmosphere on campus. They 
had a full program. They had a 
regular column in the Sweei 
Briar News with a book review 
or discussion on some weighty 
subject: they held meetings 
before major concerts or lectures 
to enlighten the prospective 
audience on the program or sub- 
ject of the lecture: they ushered 
at special events in the chapel, 
and they sponsored readings in 
the Browsing Room on Sunday 
nights. On initiation night they 
paraded through the halls inton- 
ing their Latin chant: SKinmus 
Philosophus hominum. This got 
to be a little heavy for the aver- 
age populace, so into this stately 
procession burst the Chung 
Mungs wrapped in their white 
sheets, bringing chaos into those 
solemn ranks. They were chosen 
for their frolicsome natures: 
their main purpose was to heckle 
the Tau Phis. 

The May Queen and her 
Court held sway the first week- 
end in May, come rain or shine, 
but it was on May 8, 1930, that 
the first Dismay Court took 
place. While the May Queen and 

Chemistry lab, 1935 

her honor girls, the Maid of 
Honor, the Garland Bearer, the 
Scepter Bearer, the Queen's 
Page and the Heralds went about 
their appointed tasks with 
thought of nothing but grace and 
beauty, the Dismay Queen with 
such notables in the role as Unk 
Magruder '32, Sallie Flint "35, 
and Alice Benet '36, and her 
maids of Dishonor, including the 
Garbage Bearer, the Receptacle 
Bearer, the Queen's Rage and 
the Perils, had but one thought 
in mind: to ridicule. May Day 
Pageants for the Queen became 
increasingly complicated, culmi- 
nating in Bird Sanctuary, a 
masque by Visiting Professor 
Percy MacKaye. In due course, 
the Dismay Court found it an 
ideal target for their wit and 
named their next pageant: 
SaiMiiaiy Miichl 

Class shows were an institu- 
tion by the "305. The freshmen 
spent the first six weeks reciting 
the names of seniors alphabeti- 
cally on demand (1 still remem- 
ber Anderson, Anderson. Bikle, 
Boyle....), wearing their aprons 
and beads and having to appear 
before the ominous black-robed 
Interclass Council if they made a 
misstep. When hazing was abol- 
ished in 1931, they still had a 
period of six weeks of orienta- 
tion culminating in the circus 
and fashion show. 

In November 1929, it was 
announced that the calendar was 
too full: the seniors would give 
up their play; the juniors would 





3mB h 












■''■ ^ 








keep both the play and the show 
and the sophomores would keep 
only the show. Of course, these 
were original and their success 
depended on the courage and 
daring of their scriptwriters to 
poke fun at themselves, other 
students and the faculty. 

The Sweet Briar News 
(which first appeared on October 
5, 1927) provided the most 
important channel of communi- 
cation on campus. It published 
the calendar of campus events, 
current news from alumnae, 
guest lists for Boxwood Inn, 
which served as a countr)' inn 
year-round. Betty the Briarite 
columns. Tau Phi editorials, 
reportage, and critiques of cam- 
pus events. After only a year and 
a half the News became associat- 
ed with the National Student 
Press Association, and its ratings 
made steady progress. In 
November 1934 it was given 
First Class Honor Rating by the 
Department of Journalism at the 
University of Minnesota. Its edi- 
tors took its purposes seriously, 
but even so it had its spoof edi- 
tions. Sometimes it was printed 
on blue paper during midwinter 
exams. In the box at the top. in 
large letters: "All the Blues 
Unfit to Print." Another year, a 
spoof edition in black and white 
appearing in early March had in 
the same box "No Noose is 

Good Noose." Each time the 
editors had their favorites to 
pick on: Birdie Sparrow, Emily 
Dutton. Willa Young. Cudy 
Connor. Dexter Bennett. It was a 
great compliment to be the tar- 
get of the students' arrows, and 
it made for delicious cama- 

The caliber of campus events 
was amazing considering our 
small student body, our relative 
isolation, and the economy in 
general. During that entire 
decade the Committee on 
Lectures and Music was chaired 
by Miriam H. Weaver She 
worked tirelessly with agents, 
printers, artists, and scholars to 
offer for committee approval the 
maximum of highly intellecuial 
and cultural programs for the 
minimum expenditure of cash. 
Sometimes fur flew to accom- 
plish her purposes, but I remem- 
ber that the chapel was always 
well filled and there was a real 
battle not to have to sit behind 
posts. A random selection of 
some of the programs during 
that time includes: The English 
Singers, the Jitney Players, the 
Curtis String Quartet, Dame 
Myra Hess, Arthur Fiedler and 
the Boston Sinfonietta, Bertrand 
Russell, Chinese Princess der 
Ling, the Roth Quartet. Bruce 
Simonds, Mrs. Herbert Hoover, 
the Westminster Choir, Doris 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Humphrey. Julian Huxley. John 
Cowper Powys. and Hans 

Students were strongly urged 
not to go home for 
Thanksgiving. Class cuts taken 
on Friday and Saturday counted 
double, and inducements were 
offered so that staying at Sweet 
Briar was even preferred by 
many. After classes were over 
on Wednesday night there was 
something special, a movie or a 
bridge benefit. On Thursday 
morning the foxhunters rose at 
6:30, had breakfast at Boxwood 
Inn. and by 7:00 were off riding 
to the hounds. There was a holi- 
day breakfast for all at 8:30; 
then Thanksgiving church serv- 
ice at 10:00, conducted by Miss 
Glass: a buffet lunch of apples, 
bread, milk and crackers, and a 
formal dinner at 5:30 with "all 
the fixin's," and an orchestra 
from Lynchburg for dancing 
until 8:00. Then came the 
biggest program of the year, 
such as The Sue Hastings 
Marionettes, The Martha 
Graham Dance Troupe, famous 
magician John Mulholland. and 
Helen Howe. 

Early in the decade Sweet 
Briar boasted its own 10-piece 
orchestra composed of three first 
and three second violins, a viola, 
a cello, a flute, and a clarinet, 
under the direction of Miss 

Weaver They undertook ambi- 
tious programs, including 
Schubert's Unfinished 
Symphony. Haydn's Surprise. 
Walther's "Prize Song" from 
Wagner's Die Meistersinger and 
many others. Mr. Reginald 
Martin played the organ and 
gave musical chapel services on 
Monday nights, and when Miss 
Rood and Ernest Zechiel joined 
the music faculty, they gave 
many piano-violin recitals. 

When Alfred Finch came to 
Sweet Briar, a new day dawned 
in choral music. He had a large, 
active senior glee club, a junior 
glee club, and a very select 
choir, who were amazingly loyal 
to their Sunday commitments. 
He even had an adult choir for 
faculty and friends in Amherst 
and Lynchburg. Betty the 
Briarite made some crack about 
the choristers trying to find a lit- 
tle time between rehearsals to 
get their college education, but it 
was no joke! Those of us 
involved in choir and glee club 
ate it. slept it, and loved every 
minute of it. We entered the 
state contest and won first place. 
We gave joint concerts with W 
& L and UVA for the first time; 
we joined in statewide choruses 
performing Brahms' Requiem in 
Richmond and Dvorak's Stabal 
Mater in Charlottesville, and 
anywhere, any time, when two 

or three were gathered together, 
we sang "The Silver Swan." 

Some of us whose posture 
pictures had been a little less 
than majestic were forced to 
abandon our dreams of varsity 
basketball intercollegiate tri- 
umphs and settle for hanging 
from a bar on the wall of 
Grammer Commons for our 
winter sport until the new gym 
was put to use in 1932. But the 
athletic program gave us leader- 
ship status in the whole area. We 
were hosts and the winners of 
first place in a tournament of the 
VA-NC Field Hockey 
Association; we were hosts to 
the English Lacrosse Team; the 
newspaper was always full of 
accounts of intercollegiate 
games in every season. The cli- 
mate or the calendar must have 
been significantly different in 
those days to provide enough 
time on the lake for class com- 
petition in swimming and boat- 
ing, but Lake Day and Gala 
Night were definitely important 
annual events. Each class had its 
float, which would pass the 
judges" stand at the Boat House, 
the winner amassing points for 
the annual class championship in 
all sports. 

Between Pop Blackwell and 
Harriet Rogers there was always 
a horse show or a foxhunt or a 
moonlight ride to the 

TheTally-Ho, 1935 

Blackwells' camp over near 
Coolwell. In December 1931 the 
Blackwells gave a big bam 
dance with cider and doughnuts 
and a black orchestra to cele- 
brate the opening of the new sta- 
bles. Later Pop got a Tally-ho, 
and advertised that parties of ten 
with a driver could go for a ride 
over the mountains at $ 1 .00 
apiece in daylight or $1.50 
apiece in moonlight. This impos- 
ing vehicle was drawn by a pair 
of fine horses. 

Even the Refectory played a 
distinctive role in enlivening 
campus life. Apparently we were 
pioneers! The March 20, 1929 
edition of the News announced 
that a new vegetable had been 
introduced in the Refectory 
"called BROCCOLI!! probably 
from Mexico." We were also 
philanthropists! Periodically we 
had Starvation or Soup Sundays. 
They were for the benefit of \ar- 
ious causes like the Bulgarian 
students and the four Reese 
boys, whom we were supporting 
at the Covington Home for 
Boys. We never knew much 
about those boys, but the Soup 
Sundays made us feel noble if 
not nourished. Speaking of soup, 
the most famous item in the cui- 
sine of that era was Fruit Soup, 
which gave us a great deal to 
talk about. Miss Weatheriow. the 
thin little deaf dietitian, electri- 
fied us all by eloping with Mr. 
Jensen, the corpulent Danish 
chef who, we heard, polished up 
his royal coat of arms and hung 

March 2001 • 



it behind the stove. Somehow 
we never decided whether that 
fruit soup was the inspiration for 
or the product of their union. 

Sweet Briar had no resident 
chaplain in those days. Miss 
Glass was enough of a preacher 
to enjoy conducting services and 
did so more than anyone else. 
The honor was shared with other 
faculty and student leaders for 
the noontime weekday services, 
and every effort was made to 
keep the halls above in Manson 
quiet enough to preserve a rever- 
ent atmosphere. Chapel was 
compulsory, but with a certain 
number of cuts allowed. It 
seemed as if it was always the 
noisy ones taking the cuts. In 
March 1929, the l^ews carried a 
letter from Libba Lankford '29 
to Miss Glass, handing the con- 
trol of chapel attendance back to 
the faculty as the students want- 
ed no part of trying to enforce a 
rule they didn't believe in. In the 
fall of '31 compulsory chapel 
was abolished. We always had 
visiting preachers, and a choir 
and organ performing excellent 
music. It is true that sometimes 
they had very few beside them- 
selves to benefit from the occa- 
sion, but that was a pretty good 
number. Many were the times 
when the preacher turned around 
from the lectern and included 
the choir behind him in his ser- 

The YWCA was the organi- 
zation through which missionary 
work and social services were 


performed such as the staff chil- 
dren's Christmas party and 
events at St. Paul's Mission. It 
assigned the Student Associates 
and handled the Big Sister pro- 
gram. Classes were segregated 
in the dorms with freshmen fill- 
ing up Reid and Grammer on 
one side of the road, sopho- 
mores in Manson and Randolph, 
juniors predominantly in Carson, 
seniors primarily in Gray. So the 
sister class feeling was impor- 
tant and played a big part in 
things like gown-hemming, 
hooding at graduation, step- 
singing and Lantern Night. 

Student Government was 
completely absorbed with mak- 
ing, teaching, and enforcing the 
rules. The Honor System was all 
important. It applied not only to 
academic but social regulations 
as well. Your word was your 
bond, "good taste and good 
judgment" your criterion. There 
was no division between Exec 
and Judic. The four officers and 
house presidents had to do it all. 
And so many rules! And such 
security in fussing about them 
and fearing the penalties if you 
failed to observe them! And 
such relief not to make all those 
decisions for yourself! One of 
the first liberalizations of that 
decade was when seniors were 
allowed to ride in cars with 
young men after dark as far as 
Lynchburg, and juniors and 
sophomores could ride with men 
to Lynchburg, before dark. But 
the real biggy was when Miss 

Emily Jones Hodge '27: 
Bock for her 73rd! 

Emily Jones Hodge, who had not been on campus since 
her 50th Reunion in 1977. exclaimed during last May's 
Reunion Weekend that it was "WONDERFUL to be back— 
I'm awed by all the changes!" She and her daughter, Sara 
Hodge Geuder, were enthusiastic participants in all of the 
Reunion festivities; in fact, Emily didn't miss a beat. Her only 
regret: "I really wanted to see more people from my class. 
Unfortunately, I'm the only one here." 

"I lived in Grammer for a while. For six months, though, I 
lived over at Mt. St. Angelo, because of the overflow. A bus 
driver would take us to campus for classes in the morning and 
back to St. Angelo in the afternoon." 

When she was Uving in Grammer, she and her friends 
would pour water from the top floor down the space between 
the stair flights onto unsuspecting passersby on the ground 
floor. "One day I was caught as I drenched Miss Searle, the 
math teacher Thus endeth my participation in THAT activi- 

She remembers delicious spoon bread served every 
Sunday night: she and her tablemates would "hurriedly pass 
the serving dish around, emptying it as quickly as possible so 
that we could get a refill while there was still some to be 
had." After dinner as they walked through the arcade between 
the Refectory and Randolph, they would practice the 

"Sweet Briar was a lot of fun; I enjoyed all my time here. 
When all the giris went out, we would go to Lynchburg to 
shop and eat. We would buy dill pickles to take to the movies 
to eat. 

"I was pretty much involved in everything. I was senior 
class president and in the May Court. We dated men from the 
University of Virginia, Washington & Lee. and V.M.I. We 
would meet them in Gray and then do things on campus. 
Once I had a date to attend a dance at the Naval Academy — 
but I had an infection on my finger and Dn Harley wouldn't 
let me go. I don't know why my finger couldn't make the trip 
up there." 

And how has the College changed? "Its size. It's so much 
BIGGER compared to my Sweet Briar." _ 

Rosam Quae Meruit Ferat 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Kay Meyer '28 in buggy 

Glass announced that students 
no longer had to walk out to Bus 
Rhea's beyond the campus fence 
to smoke. On May 14, 1930. 
The Sweet Briar News carried 
enormous headlines: "MISS 
DENT BODY." Hours and 
places were fixed on campus, 
and poor Bus Rhea's extra- 
vehicular business was ruined. 
Smoking was allowed for a short 
period after meals in the Senior 
Study in Gray and in the large 
parlors in Grammer and 
Randolph. Otherwise, it was out- 
doors in the West Del! only. So 
the traffic pattern in mid-morn- 
ing was: down the hill from 
Hetcher or Academic to the P. 
O., around the comer to the 
basement of Boxwood for a 
coke and nabs (5 cents ea.) and 
the Lucky Strike flat fifties, then 
on to the Dell for a cigarette in 
the sun, rain, or snow before 
going to the next class or the 

Of course, there were no 
phones in the rooms and no 
smoking there; so the only way 
you got together with your 
friends was to meet in the parlor 
or in the Dell or at Boxwood Inn 

dining room where it was 
always packed and cozy. (Those 
Sunday night suppers of waffles 
and creamed chicken were 
something to remember, 
although our spending money 
was so scarce it didn't happen 
often unless you had a visitor.) 

When lunch was over you 
rushed to the parlors or 
Grammer Commons (after the 
gym was completed) and 
grabbed a cigarette and had a 
few hands of bridge. Then after 
dinner you rushed back to 
Grammer Commons where 
Mary B. Lankford '33 or Mary 
Moore '33 or Jerry Johnston, 
'35 or Jackie Strickland, "35 or... 
thank heavens, at least one in 
every class played the piano. 
And sometimes Tooky was 
teaching us how to dance cheek- 
to-cheek Princeton style, or we 
were harmonizing and making 
up new class songs, just for that 
short period allotted for smoking 
before Quiet Hour. Smoking was 
the key to all our sociability! 

Girl-break Saturday night 
dances in Grammer Commons 
were standard procedure then, 
and Mid- Winters and May Day 
were the all-out dance weekends 
with the formal program dances 
on Friday night, the upperclass 

figures after intermission, and 
everybody gone by 1:20. 

Commencement in those 
days was an orgy of remember- 
ing, cementing, parting and 
coming unglued altogether! It 
began with the arrival of family, 
friends and alumnae for the 
Senior Garden Party at 5:00 
Saturday afternoon. At 8:00 
there was a suitable Final Play — 
like Smiling Through — in the 
Boxwood Gardens. Sunday there 
was Baccalaureate and Sunday 
dinner and visiting until 5:00 
when Step Singing was followed 
by Vespers and Lantern Night. 
Monday was Alumnae Day, with 
a luncheon for everyone fol- 
lowed by an alumnae meeting. 
That night the alumnae gave a 
banquet for the seniors and 
Tuesday Commencement took 
place at 10 a.m. It's too bad 
we've outgrown all that togeth- 
erness. Now it all happens in 
less than 24 hours and the alum- 
nae never see any part of it. 

We were a heterogeneous lot 
with no College Boards and 
nothing to package us uniformly. 
When Gertrude Stein was here 
in 1935, she said Sweet Briar 
and Mt. Holyoke girls were the 
only college giris in the country 
you couldn't fit into a mold. We 

ranged all the way from my 
roommate down to me. On one 
end of the continuum, sophisti- 
cated, soignee, smooth (that was 
the word in those days), blase 
(well past the 18th birthday), 
lorgnettes, good Yankee prep 
school, trunks of clothes from 
Manhattan couturier — on the 
other end, young (barely 16), 
insecure, naive, inexperienced, 
small-town Southern, public 
high school, eager, innocent, and 
homemade! In the folders their 
backgrounds indicated they 
would be compatible. Funny 
thing, they were! But it took a 
little time to know. And thank 
God for that time. It has lasted 
all our Uves. 

March 2001 



The fall of 1937 brought a change in 
life: it was time to leave family and 
home to begin freshman year at Sweet 
Briar College. 

The train chugs and boils; if one is not near 
enough campus to drive, this is the way to trav- 
el. What heaven! The steamer trunks have gone 
ahead by Railway Express. Now, despite the 
September heat, in new costumes, high heels, 
hats, gloves, and carrying purses and hat-boxes, 
we're off to unknown adventures. 



By Joan De Vote Roth '41 

Excerpted from her article in the Fall 1976 75"^ Aimiversaiy Issue 

of the Alumnae Magazine 
Copy edited for length 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 





) 1 


i .. % 

1 ^ 


^.n^_ -« ^^ 


Lynchburg. Sweet Briar 
station, even Monroe 
depot bid welcome and 
we soon approach the College. 
The campus is enormous. As we 
drive by the East Dell, we see 
Grammer and Reid to the left; 
on the right. Manson. Carson, 
and Randolph, followed by the 
Refectory, cupola, and Gray. 
Beyond graceful arcades we see 
Academic. Mary Helen Cochran 
Library and Fletcher. Sweet 
Briar House stands calm and 
serene; way beyond is the gym. 
How can we ever find our way 

And to think, our parents 
found it possible to send us to 
college in spite of the depres- 
sion. Only five percent of high 
school graduates in the country 
will attend college at this time. 
The overall fee is $ 1 .000 plus a 
$25 activities fee; though books 
are not included, laundry is free. 

Our president is Miss Meta 
Glass. Miss Emily Dutton is 
Dean. Mrs. Bemice Lill is the 
Registrar, through whose office 
our applications, hopes and 
prayers have passed. 

Our guide to rules, regula- 
tions, and behavior, the 
Handbook is with us always. It 
seems so complicated. As fresh- 
men we make an apron, name 
inscribed, to be worn until 

March 2001 • 

Founders" Day. We fear and 
obey sophomores: "Wake me 
gently tomorrow morning... 
Bring me apples from the 
orchard this afternoon. ..Report 
to Commons after dinner to 
entertain us." We learn seniors" 
names alphabetically and recite 
on call during Freshman- 
Sophomore Day. 

The Dean"s Office is a busy 
place, but we never question the 
rules. The Honor System pre- 
vails and works, in both aca- 
demic and social life. 

College life at Sweet Briar 
was pleasant and bucolic during 
the late ■30s. It was a gentle. 
easy time. Campus activities 
could be as demanding as a stu- 
dent chose, and there was plenty 
to choose from. P & P always 
had a production underway with 
plays performed either in 
Retcher or in the chapel in 
Manson. Scenery was built out- 
doors; flats were painted in the 
parking lot behind Fletcher. We 
were great joiners — language 
clubs, camera club. Tanz Zirkel. 
studio club, biology. English, 
economics. IRC [International 
Relations Club], to name a few. 
Even a Texas Club existed until 
1944. We had team games 
(freshmen vs. seniors), and 
hockey, lacrosse, basketball and 
riding were big on campus. 
Since there were no cars on 

msHf/ Imwni^ th/Mv oMeAO, ^-nt- UiCm/ oM(M' i^ 

1 . Every overnight absence must be approved 
by Dean's Office. 

2. Students must secure from parents or 
guardians v/ritten or special permission to 
motor with men off campus. 

3. Seniors may have cars at the close of sen- 
ior exam period. These must be 
registered with the Dean. 

4. The drinking of intoxicants except 
for beer, ale and light wines is not 
countenanced by the Student Government 

5. Whenever any student leaves campus, she 
must sign out and in, in her House Book. 

6. For weekends and dances away from 
Sweet Briar (students do not dance at pub- 
lic places in Lynchburg), and for dances at 
Sweet Briar, chaperones shall be secured or 
approved by the Dean's Office. 

1945 dance 


Grammer Commons, 1937 

corua the/ u»wn^ Triim/ wh^- op^fHaMii s^ crnn^iM^ M/mtd/ 
t9' tUki/ tht/ MiU- wh/^ hcuC co UXili/ tntaX' (yrv UiIaM/ 6-ismM-. 

campus and few bicycles (five 
or six), we walked everywhere. 
Four or five miles were nothing 
and we were never in a hurry. 

We were required to take 
phys. ed. all four years. This 
kept us healthy. We couldn't 
afford to be sick because there 
were no antibiotics. If our colds 
were bad enough, we were 
steamed at the Infirmary. This 
meant straddling a steaming 
teakettle that rested on a hot 
plate. This 30-minute procedure 
steamed the face, straightened 
the hair and bloodshot the eyes. 
That and the usual aspirin were 
the campus cure-alls. We con- 
tracted cat fever and the grippe. 
For that we went to bed and 
drank quantities of water. For 
food poisoning (which hap- 
pened about once a year), we 
held each other's heads and sur- 
vived. We were checked for bad 
posmre. If we listed to the right 
or left, we were admonished to 
lug our books on the other hip 
until we stfaightened out. All 
sprains and torn ligaments were 
automatically wrapped in Ace 
bandages. If we got fat, we 
stayed fat. Diets were not a fad 
then, and the young men who 
appeared on campus seemed to 
like the girls who had a Uttle 
meat on their bones. 

If something serious hap- 
pened, like catching a hockey 
ball in the teeth, there was the 
Lynchburg hospital, but it had 
precious little business from 
SBC. I think that, on the whole, 
we were easy to live with. I can- 
not remember the currently pop- 
ular game at SBC being played 
35 years ago: musical-chairs 
roommates. Maybe the innate 
courtesy of the '30s and our 
upbringing made us less 
demanding, a bit more polite 
and more accepting, but the girls 
generally made an effort to get 
along with dieir roommates. We 
shared possessions (my ski 
sweater went to Dartmouth 
three times but 1 never made it). 
We wouldn't think of cutting 
each other down. Consequendy, 
emotional problems seemed 
minimal. If they did exist, we 
were perhaps too ignorant to 
recognize them. Most of our 
emotional problems were 
chalked up to fatigue during 
exams. The cure was simple: we 
were put to bed in the Infirmary 
and we slept until we woke up. 
No one had heard of a psychia- 
trist! Any giri trying to feign ill- 
ness to escape an exam or test 
because she hadn't studied 
received no sympathy from our 
medical staff. Anyhow, we 

Boxwood Inn, 1945 

avoided the Infimiary like the 

I believe we all made an 
effort to be considerate of the 
resident staff member living in 
our dorm. I am certain that 
many a time Miss Muncy or 
Miss von Briesen (of Grammer 
and Reid) would gladly have 
U'aded their rooms for a comer 
of Tibet, or any place to get 
away from the girls who made 
trouble for them. The staff were 
wonderful sports: they deserved 
a gold medal every semester. 
Even if one didn't need a safety 
pin to hold up a dress or a quick 
counseling on a life-and-death 

matter, it was most satisfying to 
know that we had an adult 
friend there with us. 

Boxwood Inn was our hub, 
Grammer Commons, the center 
for incessant bridge games. We 
saw weekly movies in the 
chapel. We attended weekly 
chapel services, and the chapel 
was nearly always filled with 
students and faculty and staff. 
We swam and fished in the 
lake — yes. fished, and caught 
bass and bluegills. Some of the 
giris. the story goes, went coon- 
hunting with the natives. This 
involved crashing about cross- 
country in a vintage jalopy on 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

unpaved roads; most roads in 
Amherst County were unpaved. 
Jugs of white hghtning were 
passed around and one just had 
to be neighborly and take a slug. 
All local farmers tucked away 
their own brands; sampling 
them was an extra liberal arts 
experience for our $ 1 ,000 fee. 
Coon hunts inevitably left one 
with a weekend migraine. 

We all looked alike. Skirts 
and sweaters with pearls or a 
dickey gave way to shirtmaker 
dresses. Chillies gave way to 
saddle oxfords, and the ubiqui- 
tous Spaldings and Abercrombie 
oxfords gave in to loafers. 
Ankle socks and argyles were 
the order of the day. We wore 
raincoats over jeans, shorts, or 
gym outfits; we would not dare 
appear out of the dorm in such a 
state of undress, even in hottest 
weather. The raincoat which 
was of greatest use and value 
was the reversible; this served 
all seasons. College rule: no 

gym clothes, no slacks to class- 
es or to meals. (Riding clothes 
were no exception.) College 
rule: dresses, rayon stockings, 
and heels for dinner. As I recall, 
the social committee stood 
guard at the Refectory and we 
had to pass inspection. 

In the late '30s and into the 
'40s we followed all rules and 
questioned none. They seemed 
sensible. In those days we were 
too innocent or ignorant to 
know how underprivileged we 
were; no cars; no dates during 
wartime years; no hard liquor; 
no cooking in dorms; no smok- 
ing in dorm rooms; no TV; no 
stereo; no electric typewriters; 
no electric clocks; no private 
phones; no locked doors or 
lockboxes for valuables (most 
of us didn't have valuables any- 
way — anyone who received $30 
per month from home was a 
rich kid). 

Our allowances went for 5 
cent cokes at the Inn, 5 cent 

Clockwise from top left: archery 
practice, 1939; Bertha Woiles '17 
with students in the kitchen, 
1 940; the reflecting pool in front 
of the library; Chung Mungs, 

with/ the/ natweA'. 'fhi^ imAfid\rt(ii OUMhx'nA oMsv^ chs^- 
cswr\Pv\^ [m/ 0/ vimXaAe/jcd^fA^ am/ m\^x/wKh t«<a^; y^^ 
'loatii' im/ ^^innheMt/ CswnPi^ iMehe/ \M\fMftiL. Jm^ s>^ 

t^^f^e/nu^h/fis'dn^am^/tak^a/'UiA^. iMt t»cal ^oMniM- 
tuctwi cwJOA^ theOt- swru (^lamd^j iampfMuy thMn/ woA' 
am/ todM/ U^(MI oM^ tocfihitnCi/ ^-(^ wA^ ^l ,000 ffU/. 
C/^<yn/ hm\Mf vr\/wiXakb\^ feft- sm^ wiXhj 0/ wezkzm4/ 

March 2001 • 


By Annabelle Forsch Prager '43 

I suffered tfirougfi pangs of nostalgia and regret wfien I read 
in tfie Alumnae Magazine of the deatfi of Edward Linforth, 
who taught art at the College between 1938 and 1945. In 
the 57 years that have gone by since this sensitive, intuitive, 
and very reserved man guided the direction my life was to 
take, I heard nothing of him. Now it was too late. I sat right 
down to express sympathy and gratitude to his wife, Justine, 
who I remembered he had met when they both attended the 
Yale School of Fine Arts right before coming to Sweet Briar. 
After mailing the letter I waited with anticipation to hear what 
she could tell me. 

Precollege visits and interviews were not the custom in 1939 
when I arrived at Sweet Briar College not knowing what to 
expect. The timing could not have been more fortuitous for on 
impressionable 1 7-year-old who loved to draw but knew noth- 
ing about art. President Meta Gloss hod recently secured a 
number of grants to enrich the arts on campus. A major in art 
was instituted just two years before my arrival and the number 
of faculty members was increased. Young Ted Linforth, very 
much in time with new forces about to burst on the art scene, 
was one of the newcomers. 

In the 1 940s the American art world was in the process of 
radical change. Many of the great European figures had 
come to America. Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Mies van 
der Robe, Walter Gropius, just to name a few. At the same 
time a whole young generation of American abstract painters 
was trying out radical new ideas. Only known to a select few, 
they were to become highly celebrated. 

Miss Glass and the art faculty used grant funds to bring an 
incredible array of priceless exhibitions to campus. Paintings 
by Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Matisse, the Americans 
Birchfield, Hurd, and Edward Hopper, works that today would 
be unthinkably expensive to circulate to small colleges. In 
1 942 Fernand Leger visited Sweet Briar with a show of 30 
gouache studies of his work "The Divers," one of which he 
presented to the College. I was his translator. I toured him 
around the campus as he pretended not to understand a word 
of English. We trudged up the three flights of stairs in Fletcher 
fo the art studio where students had decorously displayed their 
works hoping to get his attention. "Magnifiquel" he cried as 
he stood in the doorway pointing into the room. He ambled 
past the gaggle of expectant students to the sink where a 
huge hunk of paint-streaked soap, hollowed out by hundreds 
of dirty brushes, sat splendidly pretending to be a Henry 

Moore sculpture. 

Freshman year my introduction to art was an illuminating leap 
through history, identifying the world's great works and putting 
them in their proper places. In those days it was customary to 
accompany art lectures with a weekly period in the studio so 
that students could become familiar with the disciplines that 
produced the art. It was there I fell under the spell of Ted 

Stimulated by a current theory of aesthetics from the University 
of California where his father taught philosophy, he wanted us 
to see how abstract qualities such as line, space, color, and 
form enhanced a painting, pointing this out in all his lecture 
courses from early Italian art to the recent moderns. One of 
his very favorite artists was Alexander Colder who I believe 
he knew. He transmitted to me his fascination with objects 
moving in space. 

For the next four euphoric years I painted under his guidance. 
Together we created an original body of work which he 
allowed might be promising. What a shot in the arm, coming 
from a teacher who never endorsed anything he didn't consid- 
er first-rate. As I think back, never once did he refer to his 
own work. For the summers he urged me to go to 
Provincetown to study with Hans Hofmann, the most influential 
teacher of the period, whose list of successful students reads 
like o who's who of abstract expressionism. There I learned a 
new way to look at objects, which involved what he spoke of 
OS negative space. And there every evening I ate fresh fish off 
the dock with three students and Tennessee Williams, who 
was never without his captain's hat and invariably begged 
anyone in sight to read his current play, as yet unproduced. 

When it came time to graduate, I was asked to stay at Sweet 
Briar as on art instructor, but Linforth said there was nothing 
for me to do but to go to the Yale School of Fine Arts, his 
alma mater, even though he deplored its Beaux Arts tradition 
which he said turned its eyes on the past. 

He was correct. At the school in the early '40s they were still 
drawing from plaster costs and teaching egg tempera paint- 
ing. Its great years were yet to come. Yet again the choice 
was fortuitous. The campus, especially the architecture school, 
was teaming with celebrated architects, critics, painters, light- 
ing experts, designers, composers; even our hero Sandy 
Colder was often present with his pals. They came to lecture, 
to criticize, to share their ideas with the students and what's 
more, to party with them, an education in itself. 

Life became even more beguiling when I went bock to New 
York where my friends were designing and building the U.N. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Yale set the patterns of my 
days — my social life, my 
career, my spare time. Yale 
contacts eventually produced 
my husband. David's love of 
contemporary painting was as 
intense as Ted Linforth's. An 
attorney, he represented the 
New York artists, bought their 
work, became their friend — 
Motherwell, Rothko, Kline, 
Tworkov, Frankenthaler, David 
Smith, Joseph Cornell, Walker 
Evans (the list is endless) were 
all complicated, fascinating 
companions. We had a tremen- 
dously stimulating life at a spectacular moment in history, 
both in the city and in Provincetown, where I never ceased 
to spend time. 

As for me, I discovered that without Ted Linforth, I couldn't 
be the painter he wanted me to be. I turned my creative 
energies to illustrating, writing, and the music which had so 
inspired me at Sweet Briar. But what about him? Was I ever 
going to know what direction his passions had token him? 

After mailing the letter to Justine I didn't have long to wait. 
Only three days later I got a phone call. "I'm Jonathan 
Linforth," said a voice. "My mother passed away four 
months ago." "Oh no!" I thought, hie went on, "My brother, 
my sisters and I were very affected by your letter. We must 
meet you. Our father was a very reserved man who spent 
much of his life in Pennsylvania, first as on architect design- 1 
er, then in sales. He never shared his thoughts and ambitions 
about art with us. We hope to learn about that side of his 
life from you." 

So the story has a bittersweet but frustrating ending. I plan 
to meet with these children now in their '50s, two of whom 
were born at Sweet Briar. Maybe together we will under- 
stand more about their self-contained, complicated father 
whose devotion to the highest standards in art very few of us 
can meet, a devotion he ceased to speak about out loud, a 
devotion that had offered so many rewards for me, a 
favored student long, long ago. Would he have derived any 
pleasure from knowing that? 

In any case I will always think of those years with apprecia- 
tion and affection — the Sweet Briar campus was a splendid 
place to be. 


Bundles for Britain, ca. 1944. 

candy bars, and 25 cent ciga- 
rettes: Fatimas. Ramses and 
Virginia Rounds. Long gone 
were salesmen on campus tiand- 
ing out samples of Luckies. 
Camels, and Chesterfields. Flat- 
Fifties were a thing of the past. 

In our innocence we had a 
grand time. We piled into buses 
and on trains and went to New 
York or Washington. An expen- 
sive hotel room was six dollars, 
and with four to six girls in a 
room, a weekend was down- 
right cheap. We took Trailways 
to Lynchburg to see movies for 
50 cents. We went to the White 
House (lobster. $1.50), 
Columns, the Brass Rail. The 
Virginian Hotel was SBC's 
headquarters in town. We loved 
flowers from Doyle's! 

We were often invited to our 
professors' homes for cookouts. 
for Thursday afternoon teas, and 
spaghetti suppers. We had to 
make our own fun and we did 
it. We planned pageants and 
plays: celebrated a snowfall by 
skipping classes and borrowing 
Refectory trays for sledding in 
the dells. We really came to 
know our classmates and pro- 
fessors well. Many of our class- 
es were small. We surely 
received individual attention, 
which is one of the reasons why 

we remember our teachers with 
affection and devotion. 

In the late '30s the auditori- 
um fund was underway; we sold 
"bricks" for a dollar each. We 
were determined to get this 
much-needed building. 

At this same time, the winds 
of war were blowing. 

December 1941: Pearl 
Harbor instantly brought us into 
Worid War II. In January 1942 a 
Bundles for Britain chapter was 
organized on campus. Headlines 
in the Sweet Briar News reveal 
changes on campus and across 
the nation: Bond Drive; War 
Ser\ice Committee Formed; 
National Nursing Profession 
seeks Recruits; War Fund Drive 
Opens; Red Cross Drives 
Continue; Woman's Land Army 
Organized. In 1943 WAVE 
Lieut. McAfee visited campus. 

In April 1944 seven students 
from that class were sworn in as 
WACS: Susan Somervell, 
Peggy Gordon, Norma Bradley, 
Anita Lippitt, Janet Staples, 
Alice Hepburn and Marjorie 

The war years left us without 
dates and the College without 
adequate help in the orchards 
and dining rooms. It was strong- 
ly advised that we pitch in, 
apply ourselves, be strong, and 

March 2001 • v/ww.alumnae. 


A picnic at fhe dam, 

1945, right. 

Far right, local school 

students enjoy a 

musical production in 

Manson Auditorium, 


otts Snodgrass '4 

TOr rronkiin koos©V6IT s oeorn in April of I y4o, 



IS corrin wou 



coming by train through Sweet Briar. About 40 of us went down to the station to pay 
our respects. It was 5:00 or 6:00 a.m., still dark, but light enough to see that every 
blind on the train had been pulled down. It was o very sad, somber occasion and I 
don't remember anyone speaking until we returned to the campus 

Perk Traugott Brown '45 told me that in the spring of 1944, she, Harriet Willcox '4 

and others were recruited by the Women's Land 

Army to help sort and pack apples which the 

German prisoners of war hod picked on Afton 

Mountain. Her sister, Patty Traugott '48 was my 

roommate. Patty joined the group that summer; 

they spent ten days they will always remember: 

she and Perk hod to share a bed infested with 

fleas at the old Afton Mountain Hotel, while others 

had to sleep on straw. 

The Class of '48 was very fortunate in having two 
outstanding presidents, Miss Meta Gloss for our 
first two years and Martha Lucas the lost two 
years. All of us respected Miss Glass and her 
strong opinions very much. She was the quintessential lady. We liked Martha Lucas 
too and, as Wayne Goodall '48 soys, she "raised our consciousness" when speak- 
ing of her favorite subject, UNESCO. Remember all those flags stuck in the ground in 
front of the academic buildings and the library? She also taught an excellent course 
in comparative religion, which I enjoyed. 

We were very fortunate to have excellent teachers. I majored in philosophy and 
thought Miss Lucy Crawford was a jewel. Miss Benedict's course in religion was out- 
standing; she married Dr. Rollins. Who could ever forget Jovan de Rocco, who taught 
us art history and visited his wife in New York once a month? He was a fine teacher. 

Do you remember that the mother of our classmate Westray Battle Boyce was head 
of the WACS? And that classmate Jane Luke and a young lady from another college 
were the first two females to be admitted to UVA medical school? 

Ail this brings to mind a lot of happy times. 

Doreen Brugger '45 picking fruit 


please roll bandages in the gym 
basement twice a week. Also 
cleave to the Puritan ethic and 
pick apples. We were boarded 
on trucks and carried into the 
countryside to save the County's 
and the College's apple crop. As 
no other pickers were available, 
we volunteered. Our schedules 
looked a bit odd: first hour. 
English; second hour, Apple 
Orchard, lunch, zoo lab, then 
apples for dinner. Most of us got 
so we couldn't face apple sauce 
or apple pie. Many faculty 
members ate several meals a 
week in the Refectory — maybe 
to save ration coupons? 
Students, of course, turned over 
their coupons to the College 
each semester to help provide 
meat, sugar, butter, and coffee. 

Being of sound mind and 
body we all "volunteered" to 
wait tables in the Refectory and 
Reid. Volunteer meant that when 
your name appeared on the 
bright yellow sheet on Gray bul- 
letin board, you served your 
week each semester, rain or 
shine, boom or bust. Only a bro- 
ken leg or arm took your name 
off the roster We did this wait- 
ress duty with good spirit and 
cheer: we were being patriotic. 

Two of our most distin- 
guished wartime volunteers 
were President Glass and 
Professor Barker, who joined 
the soda fountain brigade at 
Boxwood Inn, serving many a 
delicious chocolate malt or 
chocolate sundae. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

The Inn, a most popular 
spot, served breakfast coffee 
and cinnamon toast for 15 cents. 
Mrs. Greenberg ran the place 
with an iron hand and rattled 
keys at closing hour, but she 
went all-out for a student's 
birthday dinner Across the road 
from Boxwood Inn was the post 
office, run by Mr. Martindale, 
who with his wife, the former 
Miss Dix, lived on lower floor 
Gray. Mail services were good. 
Stamps cost three cents, airmail 
a nickel. We had one telephone 
switchboard operator, who 
knew everything about every- 
body. She also helped press our 
clothes. We had no security 
guards or campus poUce, just 

one night watchman, Mr. Beard. 
We lived in an era of faith and 
trust in each other. We walked 
around campus at 4:00 a.m. and 
the dorms were unlocked. 

Other than the Inn, the great 
social centers were the dorms, 
which buzzed 24 hours a day. 
We used the corridors for golf- 
putting, sitting-up exercises, 
conferences, practicing fire- 
man's carry, shuffleboard, 
rolling dice, listening to phone 
conversations (one phone per 
corridor), but NO SMOKING. 
We rode, hiked, camped on 
Paul's Mountain, smoked on the 
arcades in coldest weather, 
thumbed rides to Amherst 
(although we found few cars as 

Building sets, 1941, left. 
Below, the Post Office in 1940 

I lllllllll 

drivers were lalioiied tour gal- 
lons a week), and entertained 
troops from nearby Army 

By the end of the war in 
1945, Sweet Briar alumnae had 
been serving in the WACS, 
WAVES and Marines. Some of 
our classmates' fathers helped 
win the war, among them 
General Somervell, General 
Spaatz, General Royall and 
General McNamy. 

■Who can forget the big 
bands? "Mairzy Doats"? "The 
Hut Sut Song"? "Don't Fence 
Me In"? Rebecca, Gone with 
the Wind. Casablanca, The Best 
Years of Our Lives ? Studying 
in the stacks for exams? Dr. 
Connor's trailer? Fresh straw- 
berries in the spring? Finals 
with the scent of honeysuckle 
coming through the library? 

Miss Umbreit's Music 101-102? 
Classical Civilization, a won- 
drous course and the majority 
did not really appreciate it? 
"Good morning. Miss," "Good 
moming, Chris"? Gorgeous 
slabs of homemade bread, 
peanut butter and jelly for lunch 
instead of Scotch woodcock? 
The Y boxes in the dorms 
where we bought candy bars 
and snacks? The Amherst ladies 
who came at exam time and 
sold sandwiches in the dorm 
halls? The excitement of a 
telegram or special delivery let- 
ter sent to your room? Elijah 
Road and Red Top? The 
Campus Characters hockey 
team? Amherst County Day? 
Fire drills? Miss Ruby and Miss 
Winnie? The Bum Chums? D- 
Day? V-E Day? And do you 
remember where you were on 
V-J Day? 

All this was the foundation 
of our love for Sweet Briar, the 
flower fair. 

The Males of the Species 

Friend of the fimily 

March 2001 



S>veet Briar at the Beginning of 


September 30fh, 1994 Founders' Day Address by Helen 
Sanford '42 

The class of '42 arrived at Sweet Briar in September, 1938. 
Europe was just on the verge of World War II. Hitler was in 
control of Germany. Germany had annexed Austria, and 
was hovering over Czechoslovakia. 

Within a year, Germany and Russia had divided Poland 
between them, and England and France had gone to war 
against Germany. 

The war was a thread running through our lives the four 
years we were here, a constant presence. But in fact it did 
not much affect what we did at Sweet Briar until the United 
States was directly involved. 

I lived in Texas, and went 
home only for Christmases and 
summers. In between, I commu- 
nicated by letter. I still have a 
bundle of those letters, which I 
used as a reference source for 

A letter at the beginning of 
sophomore year said, matter 
of factly, "There may not be 
golf this fall, because Mr. 
Napier is Scottish and he 
might have to go fight in the 
war." Later letters don't say 
whether he did or not, and I 
don't remember. In the spring I reported having knitted a 
sweater for a child in Finland; Russia had taken over chunks 
of Finnish land, and someone here was lining up help for 
the Finns. 

As sophomore year ended, Germany swept through Holland 
and Belgium, and into France. More than 300,000 British 
end French troops were evacuated out of Dunkirk. On July 
10th, Italy joined the attack on France. By mid-July, France 
had capitulated, and the German air force launched the 
Battle of Britain, bombarding England to soften it up for 


\AmXit t% M-ntte^/Sta^ wc(A 

In September 1 940, junior year, the United States Congress 
passed the Selective Service Act. Men between 21 and 35 
were required to register for the draft — the first peacetime 
draft in U. S. history. 

I was not dating anyone. My classmates who were dating 
were more concerned than I was about the potential effects 
of the draft, but campus life was still essentially normal as 
junior year began. 

I adored everything about Sweet Briar that year, as I had 
since the end of my first few miserable weeks as a fresh- 
man. I decided to major in history of art. I auditioned for the 
glee club and got in, wrote headlines for the Sweei Briar 
News, sold ads for the Briar Patch, and was invited into 
Aints and Asses. 

There was a presidential election that fall. The Democrats 
nominated Roosevelt for a third term; the Republicans nomi- 
nated Wendell Willkie. Those of us who had heard our 
fathers rail against Roosevelt for eight years were passionate 
Willkie supporters. We organized a march around campus, 
singing Willkie songs. We were not old enough to vote, the 
voting age was 21 . And without us, Wendell Willkie lost. 

The president of the College was Miss Meta Glass, digni- 
fied, erect and rather distant. Much of the time she was 
away. We dutifully sang a song that had been written as a 
tribute to her, with lines like "You are the best and truest 
friend of all..." But we did not feel that we knew her very 

We celebrated May Day with the usual excitement. The most 
beautiful girl in the senior class was May Queen. The theme 
that year was Old Vienna. The glee club dressed in what 
were supposed to be Tyrolean peasant costumes, and sang 
"The Blue Danube Waltz." Aints and Asses followed May 
Day with the Dismay Court. We thought we were hilarious. 

As junior year ended, the Battles of the Atlantic, the great 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

May Day, 1945 

naval battles, were under way. On May 27th, 1941 , the 
British sank the mighty German battleship Bismarck. 

Almost at the same time, Aints and Asses was electing me 
president. I was beside myself with excitement. We celebrat- 
ed with dinner and wine at Mrs. Wills' in Amherst. 

That summer, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Japan 
invaded Indochina. And Congress voted to extend the serv- 
ice of drafted men for 1 8 months. 

We picked up life as usual when we came back as seniors 
in the fall. At the first Step-Singing, Tou Phi announced its 
new members. I reported it in a letter to my mother: "It's not 
scholastic thing," I said. "It is much more of an honor than 

Virginia was suffering a terrible heat wave. We heard that if 
ten more days went by without rain, the College would 
close. The rain came. On Founders' Day 1941, it poured. 
The seniors marched in procession into the chapel, wearing 
their cops and gowns, and then rode up to the Monument — 
on the running boards of cars — to lay flowers on Daisy's 

The chapel was in the basement of Manson. That space 
functioned as a church, an auditorium, a music hall, and 
sometimes as a theatre, although Paint and Patches produc- 
tions were in Fletcher. 

The Trapp Family Singers — the refugee von Trapps who 
inspired The Sound of Music gave a concert in the chapel. 
The mother did not look the way Julie Andrews looked, but 

their singing was beautiful. 

We were busy raising money for a proper auditorium, sell- 
ing symbolic paper bricks for a dollar apiece to our fathers 
and other vulnerable prospects. The Faculty Show in 
November benefited the Auditorium Fund. It drew a good 
crowd: word had gone out that in the show Mr. Finch of the 
Music Department was to murder President Glass. 

In November we started work on the Senior Show. I was in 
charge of props, creating, painting, and borrowing. It was a 
marvelous show, written, acted, and sung by the talent of the 
Class of 1942. The title was Jusf Looking Thanks. The block- 
buster song was "It's '42." In the play, that referred to a dress 
size. "It's 42, can't you see by looking at me that it's true..." 

March 2001 • 


The night the Senior Show 
presented itself to the world 
was Saturday, December 6th, 
1 94 1 . The next day, the 
Japanese bombed Pearl 

We learned about the attack 

Sunday afternoon. Some kind 

of function was going on in Moving in, 1945. 

the gymnasium that night. We 

carried our radios to listen to the news. The next day we 

heard President Roosevelt's address, when he spoke of "the 

day that will live in infamy," and asked Congress to declare 

war on Japan, as it promptly did. Three days later Congress 

declared that we were at war with Germany and Italy as 


Our mood was somber after Pearl Harbor. Some of us had 
fathers and brothers and friends in imminent danger. All of 
us felt the impact of the involvement of our country. The war 
was never out of our minds for very long after that. 

Academic life continued. We went home for Christmas, 
returning to face exams. In January, the Friends of Art 
brought the French abstractionist Fernand Leger to campus. 
He charged us $150. We sold only $97 worth of tickets for 
his lectures, which were in French, with one of the art [stu- 
dents] translating; they were all about abstract art. We liked 
Fernand Leger, who seemed to fancy himself a ladies' man, 
but his message about art was largely unintelligible to us. 

That spring the Sweet Briar Glee Club, with the Duke Glee 
Club and the Harvard Orchestra, appeared in concert on 
campus. The program ended with a glorious rendition of the 
"Hallelujah Chorus." Later — after 1 1 ;00, when we were all 
in quarters — the Duke men stood in the quadrangle and ser- 
enaded. They were very good, and we were thrilled. 

To support the war effort, we bought Defense Stamps and 

pasted them in savings 
books. We took First Aid 
courses. We knitted wrist- 
warmers and helmets. We 
raised money for Bundles 
for Britain. We served as 
fire proctors and air raid 
wardens. At Miss Glass' 
instigation, the College 
sponsored an "Institute of 
National Needs and Resources," two days of lectures and 
discussions on production and consumption in wartime. 

Many of our classmates were acquiring rings and planning 
weddings. This was natural, since domesticity was our 
expected destiny, but the war speeded the action in 1942. 
One of my classmates says that her beloved proposed 
because driving to Sweet Briar to court her was wearing out 
his tires, and tires were getting hard to buy. 

May Day arrived again, and the Dismay Court followed. 
The Dismay Court sold tickets, netting $22 for war relief. 

Between January and May, the Philippines slowly fell to 
Japan. American forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula 
and Corregidor; on May 6th Corregidor surrendered. 

Sugar rationing was instituted in the States. We signed up 
for ration cards and turned them over to the College for the 
rest of the year. The Refectory stopped putting sugar on the 
tables; iced tea was sweetened ahead of time in the kitchen. 

Gas rationing was a problem. We asked the College to 
house our families in dormitories at graduation, so that they 
would not have to drive back and forth to Lynchburg. 

Inevitably, inexorably, graduation day came on June 9th, 
and we headed off into the world. Many class members 
married within months of graduation. Almost all of them 
married in time. A few have had business or professional 
careers also, but the majority have not. They have raised 


Sweet Briar College Alumrioe Magazine Centennial Issue 

Swearing In ceremony, 1 944 

children, managed households, headed civic and philan- 
thropic organizations, and done good works. We have a 
v^^onderful class. 

I am one of the tiny minority who have stayed single, so far. 
The years have been mostly fun: a year in secretarial 
school — Katharine Gibbs, New York — and then two years 
and three months in the Marine Corps. I may be one of the 
few people you know who marched in Franklin Roosevelt's 
funeral procession. 

Several classmates served in the Navy (WAVES). Others 
were with the Red Cross; a couple of these served overseas. 

When the war ended, I went home and went to work. 
Eventually I drifted into advertising, at a small advertising 
agency in Houston for 15 years, and a giant one in New 
York for nearly ten. My assignment for most of that time was 
media — planning, recommending, and contracting for 
media space and time. Ultimately I moved into client liaison 

work. When I retired, t went back to college to earn a mas- 
ter's in history at SMU. 

Every job I have had since Sweet Briar, paid or volunteer, 
starting with the Marine Corps in Washington — every job 
has involved writing. In advertising I was never a copy- 
writer, but writing was the essence of the work. We wrote 
constantly: letters, memos, presentations and sales pitches, 
criticisms and defenses. 

It is a great asset to be able to put words together on paper 
or computer. It's been a blessing for me that I was forced 
into this early, writing letters home. And writing interminable 
answers to essay questions at Sweet Briar. I never finished 
an exam. I always had more to say — although not necessar- 
ily about the question asked... 

Thank you for letting me come, I've hod a lovely time. 
I wish all good things to all of you, always. 

March 2001 • 


(A/1[u^ C'Cm^o^suMo^e^ 


World War II was over. What 
would a peacetime college expe- 
rience be like? Students in 1946 
had known a campus operating under wartime 
conditions, in an environment geared to the 
restrictions of a nation and a community put- 
ting forth every effort to win a devastating 
world conflict. Europe and Japan were on their 
knees and worldwide suffering was at its peak 
in this year, the beginning of the atomic age. 

Students and faculty were still numb over Hiroshima and 
Nagasaki but united in their feeling that it was fortunate that 
we and not the rest of the world had the atoniic secrets. We 
were still feeling nationalistic and superior. We had won the 

war but were not blind to the 
fact that there were many 
things we could do to help an 
exhausted world recuperate. 
Sweet Briar was starting 
with a clean slate and a new 
consciousness. We began 1946 
with a new. internationally- 
minded president. Dr. Martha 
Lucas. President Glass had 
retired after 21 years. During 
her tenure the College had 
grown, the student body and 


?'udents a\ outing cabin, 1952 

By Ann Marshall Whitley '47 

Excerpted from her article in the Fall 1976 75"^ Anniversary 

Issue of the Alumnae Magazine 

Copy edited for length 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Eleanor Roosevelt's Informal Visit 
Snowballed Into a Maior Event 

To this day, Jean Taylor '49 and Eleanor Potts Snodgross '48 can still picture the for- 
mer first lady and U.S. delegate to the United Nations, Eleanor Roosevelt, speaking 
before an overflow crowd in Sweet Briar's Williams Gymnasium. "Mrs. Roosevelt," 
says Jean, "was not prepared to give a speech. She came to the College expecting 
to talk with 12 to 15 members of the International Relations Club (IRC). She was not 
apprised of the change in plans until she got here." 

"Wayne Stokes Goodall '48 reminded me that when she was on the International 
Relations Committee with [classmates] Jennie Belle Bechtel and Suzanne Hardy, 
someone said that Eleanor Roosevelt was going to Chatham 
Hall to speak," recalls Eleanor. "Wayne wrote to her and 
asked her to come to Sweet Briar first. Mrs. Roosevelt accept- 
ed, so Martha von Briesen '31, SBC's director of public rela- 
tions, sent lots of publicity to various newspapers. Wayne and I 
remember that the gym was packed with people from 
Lynchburg and the surrounding area, and that Suzanne Hardy 
gave an excellent introduction." 

"We were all so impressed," adds Jean. "She walked to the 
podium and gave an eloquent, impromptu speech about the 
role of the United Nations and the United States in the world. 
The place was jam-packed — hundreds of us were crowded in 
there — but she took it in stride. It was one of those moments 
you never forget. 

"During lunch in the Refectory," continues Eleanor, "Wayne and Suzanne hod the 
pleasure of sitting next to Mrs. Roosevelt and thoroughly enjoyed her. After lunch. 
Miss Glass' chauffeur drove her to Chatham Hall." 


Eleanor Roosevelt and Professor 
Gerhard Masur chat with 

faculty had increased and the 
endowment was rising. She 
had steered the College 
through the depression and 
war years. Meta Glass retired 
to Farmington in 
Charlottesville, where girls 
would often see her erect and 
dignified figure on the street, 
walking stick in hand, green 
cape flying. She was an active 
participant in the 
Charlottesville community, 
acting with the Rotunda 
Players, serving as administra- 
tor for Stuart Hall, and staying 
"a flaming Democrat" to the 

Dr. Lucas, inaugurated 
November 1. 1946, was a 

young, articulate former dean 
of Radcliffe. We anticipated a 
great shaking and reshaping 
of Sweet Briar's ivy-covered 
walls, both physically and 
intellectually — a new and 
invigorated campus. With 
Miss Lucas and the bomb 
how could we lose? 

A miracle happened: a 
five-day holiday was given 
for Thanksgiving, and Mid- 
Winters" dances were reinstat- 
ed. Nearly as important, stu- 
dents no longer had to per- 
form volunteer waitress duty. 
This happy announcement 
was made by Mrs. Linda 
Brown, director of food serv- 

Sweet Briar had always 
been dependent on trains and 
buses, but students began to 
clamor in earnest for the right 
to have a car on campus, at 
least for the seniors. The May 
19, 1948 News announced: 
"Any senior wishing to avail 
herself of the privilege of hav- 
ing her own car on campus 
after her last examination 
must register the car with 
Miss Jester in the Dean's 
office." The opening wedge 
had been driven but it was 
some years before student 
cars were welcome, and then 
only because Trailways 
sharply curtailed service 
between Lynchburg and 

March 2001 • www.alumnae.sbc. edu 


Amherst and trains ran less 
often. There was heavy 
debate; when one faculty 
member referred to student 
cars as "pure frivolity" it cre- 
ated an uproar. It also elicited 
a strong response in the News: 
"Cars will not cause frivolity 
as claimed, hut seniors will 
find them a convenience in 
carrying out their community 
responsibilities." Finally cars 
became a necessity due to 
poor public transportation. 

In the late '40s to every- 
one's surprise, Lynchburg 
built an airport. This great 
step into the future was an 
unpaved grass strip and one 
World War II Quonset hut 
with a jaunty red-and-white 
striped wind sock! Some stu- 
dents began to fly. Most stu- 
dents and faculty had never 
flown before, but the novelty 
eventually became a necessity. 
In the late '40s and early "SOs 
most preferred the relative 
safety of trains and buses. The 
first students to use commer- 
cial airlines were considered 

The College catalog indi- 
cates a sign of the times: "Due 
to increased cost of food and 
wages, Sweet Briar regretfully 
must add $35 to the fee for 
1946-47, making the total 
$1,135." The comprehensive 
fee gradually increased; by 
1956 it had reached $2,000, 
an increase of $865 in ten 
years. Inflation had begun but 

was only creeping, not gallop- 
ing. The student activity fee 
was raised in the late "40s to 
$30; there was heated campus 
discussion over that, too. 

The Sweet Briar News and 
other SBC publications had 
good support from the 
Lynchburg stores and shops. 
"Buy a new-look Handmacher 
suit at Millners for $20 or a 
Palm Beach suit for $25." In 
the early '50s Katherine 
Gibbs advertised in the News. 
"We offer the very best secre- 
tarial training in the East for 
college graduates." 

Since young men were a 
new commodity on campus 
after the war and the various 
parlors were getting a lot of 
business, a "date house" 
seemed a good idea. Boxwood 
Inn was always overcrowded, 
so an early postwar building 
project resulted in a date 
house where students could 
prepare simple food, listen to 
a record player, dance, and 
play bridge. Chaperones had 
vanished during the war as 
there was nothing to chaper- 
one; the custom was not rein- 

In 1952 seniors were per- 
mitted to have cars on campus 
after spring vacation. Times 
were changing. Some faculty 
members began to live off- 
campus; others began to build 
private homes on campus 
property. Harriet Rogers and 
Lucy Crawford had broken 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Joanne Holbrook Patton '52 

Remembers Significant People, Events 

remember from my freshman year the 
awareness many of us received from 
then-President Martha Lucas, of our 
place as a member of the internation- 
al community. With her personal dedi- 
cation to United Nations programs 
(later, specifically UNESCO), she 
brought speakers to campus and 
encouraged student organizations that 
opened us to issues and cultures we 
later came to appreciate as vital to our 
education. Although the international 
students on campus and overseas learn- 
ing opportunities may 
have been initiated 
before her tenure, I am 
sure that her passions 
promoted their perma- 
nence. The result is that 
"little old Sweet Briar" 
has had a window on the 
world that has been much 
wider than that of most 
Southern colleges, giving 
it a present-day interna- 
tional recognition and w.H. Auden 
sophistication beyond many of its larger 
peers, with its students far more ready 
to "bloom where they are (trans)plant- 
ed," no matter where that may turn out 
to be. 

Throughout the years, the College has 
attracted many superstars as speakers 
and visitors. In my undergraduate time, 
two stand out as affecting me: one was 
W. H. Auden, who came to campus as 
a guest of the English Department, giv- 
ing readings and visiting with student 
groups. (We knew from what we had 
read of him that he had a taste for alco- 
hol, and when he sat at a student table 
in the Refectory one evening, we took 
note of a suspicious bulge in his back 
pocket which we identified as his flask!) 

The other was an inadvertent moment in 
history: the concert given by Leontyne 
Price, accompanied by the mother of an 
SBC student. Leontyne was just getting 
started in her career, so we did not 
appreciate the privilege of hearing 
her — until she sang. It was stunning! W( 
loved the performance, of course, but 
could not have guessed that she would 
become one of the foremost divas in 
American musical history. 

Highlighting great teachers: in my time 
at Sweet Briar, Lawrence Nelson, my 
English professor, was the 
star. Another was Dean 
Hosken, a Quaker who 
taught comparative reli- 
gions — brilliantly! Both made 
us think "out of the 
box". ..they were important to 
my life directions, and I thank 
them frequently in retrospect. 
Two others, from whom I 
never took a course, but who 
were, in their way, great 
teachers to us were Milan 
Hapala and Jessie Melville Fraser [histo- 
ry]. Dr. Hapala's informal sharings with 
us outside of class were always mean- 
ingful and memorable. "Miss" Fraser, as 
we called her, was my advisor when I 
edited the yearbook as a junior. When I 
conferred with her about my elaborate 
plans for the Briar Patch, she said to 
me, "Before you do anything more, I 
want you to go out to the dell, sit down 
on the grass and quietly think." What 
she meant, of course, was "meditate," 
on the views and values of Sweet Briar, 
letting them be my guide and inspira- 
tion. She was right! 

/$weet^ t^nian^ ^toM^ o/ 
ihe^ ha/C tm/ pi^^leU; 


March 2001 • 


May Day dance, 1954 

the ice years before by build- 
ing Red Top. 

Students still had all their 
laundry taken care of weekly 
by the SBC laundry. Twenty- 
four laundresses washed and 
ironed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., with 30 minutes off for 
lunch; they received 55 cents 
an hour. The laundry made its 
own distinctive soap (bars, 
powder and flake). This was 
boiled to a liquid for easy 
handling — the formula dated 
from 1906. Sheets and linens 
came out snowy white, but so 
did colored things occasional- 
ly. Reds turned pink, orange 
turned yellow, blues came 
back green. No one com- 
plained because it was better 
than doing laundry yourself. 

The Sweet Briar Hunt was 
organized in February 1948 
with 20 charter members. 
They had seven of their own 
hounds to start their drag 
hunting; the pack was later 
increased to six pairs. During 
the war there had been two 
paper chases a week, better 
than nothing, but a pale imita- 
tion of drag hunting, accord- 
ing to the aficionados. 

Things began to happen on 
the Sweet Briar farm after the 
war. When Joe Gilchrist 
became farm manager, he 
implemented new, experimen- 
tal programs of great interest 
throughout the County. He 
bought a fine new bull for the 
cattle bam. A Sweet Briar cow 

won top butterfat honors in 
the Lynchburg Dairy Herd 
Improvement Association. In 
view of the severe world food 
shortage as we went into the 
Cold War, Sweet Briar started 
a pig farm experiment. Within 
days after the purchase of the 
first sow, she had ten piglets, 
a great return on the initial 

A huge food conservation 
effort was made by Mrs. 
Brown. Five cooks and three 
bakers worked seven days a 
week making all our bread, 
rolls and cakes. Mrs. Brown 
omitted bread at one meal per 
day, saving by 1 /3 the use of 
margarine. She cut to a mini- 
mum the use of fried food to 
save fat: it took ten gallons of 
fat to fry food for one meal. 

As Europe and Japan 
remained in ruins and the 
Cold War became a arim real- 

ity, the students, faculty and 
staff, concerned over the 
world situation, began think- 
ing of ways to help schools, 
individuals, and the world 
through their efforts. The 
Class of 1947 joined the 
Foster Parents Plan, adopting 
a French boy and a Polish 
boy. A student was sent to 
England for the Student 
Service Conference at Girton 

College, Cambridge, to learn 
to understand the world situa- 
tion and to be an American 
student ambassador. Petitions 
were sent to President Truman 
for an assurance of world 
peace and for limitation of the 
arms race; students and facul- 
ty argued the pros and cons of 
a continued draft to keep the 
peace until the fledgling U.N. 
could sain strength; the 

The new Dew Dormitory, 1 956 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Student Fund Committee sent 
$100 to Athens University, 
which had been devastated: 
SBC sent $1,500 to the World 
Student Service Fund to pro- 
mote peace and education: 
books were sent to the 
University of Caen in France; 
one hundred pairs of shoes 
were sent from our students to 
students in Norway. SBC 
joined the Save the Children 
Foundation and adopted an 
entire French school with 
$5,227.45 raised on our cam- 
pus; a collection was made to 
buy an art reflectoscope for 
the art department at the 
University of Belgrade, 
Yugoslavia. Money was raised 
for the March of Dimes and 
the Cancer Fund, and contri- 
butions made to the Leprosy 

The world was trying to 

right itself, and the Sweet 
Briar community was eager to 
learn how it could help. When 
Sir Winston Churchhill came 
to Richmond with 
Eisenhower. Sweet Briar was 
there. When the New York 
Herald Tribune Forum held 
forth on "The Struggle of 
Justice as a World Force" with 
such giants as Paul Henri 
Spaak. Jan Christian Smuts, 
Jan Masaryk, Frank Lloyd 
Wright, and Eisenhower. 
Sweet Briar was there. When 
Dr. Lise Meitner, the German 
physicist, who with others 
came forth with the fomiula 
on atom-splitting, came to 
Sweet Briar the entire student 
body, faculty, staff and most 
of Amherst County was there. 

As we advanced into the 
'50s, into the Korean conflict 
and Communist conspiracies. 

Outdoor dance class, 1951 

Cornerstone laying. Dew Dorm 
Key Smith '56, President of 
Student Government, President 
Ponnell, Mrs. William Bland 
Dew, Sterling Jones 

we becaine less optimistic. 
Sweet Briar did not close its 
eyes, however, and continued 
to push for a better under- 
standing and a better world. 
This was our legacy from 
Martha Lucas, who had a 
deep religious conviction and 
a passionate concern for the 
brotherhood of man and the 
entire human family. It was a 
philosophy of never give up, 
but defend the principles of 
freedom and condemn those 
who seek to repress freedom. 
Miss Lucas did temper her 
feeling in one report when she 
said, "In this period of human 
history an optimist is being 
defined as one who thinks the 
future is uncertain." The stu- 
dents said, "Amen." 

Miss Lucas left the College 
withtheClassof 1950. She 
had entered with them in 1946 
and departed with the final 
admonition that students exer- 
cise their freedom and always 
oppose what they thought was 

Dr. Anne Gary Pannell in 
1950 became Sweet Briar's 
fifth president. She came with 
her two young sons. Two boys 
in Sweet Briar House! This 
enlivened the old mansion 
where no children had lived 
since the days of Daisy. 
Ruinor has it that one night 
the boys took their B-B guns 
and went around campus 
shooting out all the lights; 
their comrade in misadventure 

piMJv ie/nuun(4' the/ iam^: 
the/ le^lectimA' fu^n^ iMoA 
ti/^HoM^; the/ 0gA^ 
<sm/ ^pfwn^ yW^^Mf, TnoM/- 
i/ruy eoM arruC hea^ {rtA/Zz- 
On/ the/ ^oUeM^; the/ lool- 
9^ itwiemM', lArhs- ieirwi 
the/ Veil p&ntil/, iuOrut' iane/ 
trvM^M]/-. the/ fi^^'SAA to^ 

March 2001 • 




Helen Addington Passano '55: 
Lasting Impressions 

Professors Mosur, Hopalo, Crawford, and Miss 
Rogers, plus President Ponnell fiove fiod lasting 
impressions on me. 

Meeting and living with classmates from many parts 
tfie country also played a big part in extending my 
provincial life as a native Virginian. 

The magnificent setting of pleasingly-designed build- 
ings on the plateau at the foot of the Blue Ridge 
Mountains always gave me a lift (and still does). 

I am pleased that there was no "turning point" in 
regard to turning into a coed copycat... that we stayed 
the course and continue as on all-female institution 
with its unique stewardship of women. 

How pleased 1 am to anticipate our Centennial! 

was Chip Wood, .son of 
Elizabetti Bond '34. Ttie boys, 
the story goes, had to pay for 

Much remained the same: 
the reflecting pond was still in 
front of the library; the frogs 
croaked their heads off on 
spring nights, making ears 
and heads buzz in the gallery; 
the zoology students, who 
seined eggs there as well as in 
the Dell pond, didn't seine 
enough: the frogs took over. 

Captain Littauer and Miss 
Constance Applebee made 
their yearly visits, shaking up 
riders and hockey players for 
days before their clinics. 
There were sighs of relief in 
the dorms at their departures. 
They were both experts in 
their fields, but many a stu- 
dent would wake in a cold 
sweat at night with the words 
echoing in her ears: "RUN, 
courtesy of Miss Applebee; or 
Captain Littauer's "Hands 
down and MORE LEG!" 

The College exhorted the 
community to be more careful 
in the use of electricity in the 

'50s. After a survey, the treas- 
urer reported that 20 percent 
of the electricity was wasted 
on campus "through sheer 
carelessness and negligence." 
In return, students made a sur- 
vey, reporting that 46 percent 
of the student body wore 
glasses and demanding better 
lights, especially in the 
Browsing Room. Their motto 
was "Shun all 60-watt bulbs 
to save your sight." 

In 1948-49 Sweet Briar 
took over the junior Year in 
France Program from the 
University of Delaware. SBC 
was concerned that men 
would not enroll in a program 
with a name as feminine as 
"Sweet Briar," but the largest 
group to go the first year was 
from Yale! One of the boys 
was so carried away he won- 
dered if Sweet Briar might 
have a senior year in Paris 

In 1949 Sweet Briar was 
awarded a charter for the 
Theta chapter of Phi Beta 
Kappa. Membership had been 
withheld previously because 
of the lack of a proper number 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

What It Meant to Many 

By Mary Morris Gamble Booth '50 
Excerpted from her address at the 25th Anniversary Celebration in 1973 

My only claim to notability is that I am the oldest alumna of 
The Sweet Briar Junior Year in France. I am what they mean 
when they say, "oncienne eleve." 

My mission tonight is to thank, on behalf of all Junior Year 
alumni, the people whose foresight and wisdom made our 
year abroad possible. We shall be eternally indebted to 
Mrs. Pate who had the vision and temerity to grasp the 
Junior Year franchise for Sweet Briar College; to Dr. 
Anderson who guided our pioneer group with such kind- 
ness, firmness, and good humor; to Professor Peyre who 
sent those 14 dashing Yale men with the first Sweet Briar 
group; [and to] dear Dr. Barker, whose idea the whole 
scheme was in the first place...! still remember how his eyes 
twinkled when he told me the glorious news that The Sweet 
Briar Junior Year in France was a reality! And I remember 
what a comfort he and Mrs. Barker were to us when we 
returned to Sweet Briar for our senior year and had to make 
the adjustment back to Amherst County from Paris! 

When we, the first group, arrived in France in August of 
1 948, the aftereffects of World War II were still much in evi- 
dence. Due to a shortage of coal, we had no electricity two 
days a week and no heat until long after it was cold 
enough for our fingers to grow numb around our pencils in 
class. Many foods were rationed and most of the girls in the 
group had to live at Reid Hall, there being very few French 
families at that time in a position to "adopt" American stu- 
dents. But "our hearts were young and gay" and nothing 
could lessen the excitement of being 20 and in Paris! 

We went abroad that first year not just in the pursuit of 
excitement — we did study very hard — but some of us also 
went in pursuit of the Tennysonian ideal of "the Parliament 
of man, the Federation of the world." This, I regret to say, 
we were not able to accomplish during our year abroad. 

But surely all of us hove achieved a greater understanding 
and appreciation of other people. We have all made lasting 
friendships with French and American students who shared 
the year with us — in fact, a number of marriages have 
resulted from this venture into international relations. And in 
unexpected ways, other delightful friendships ore fostered 
by the Junior Year experience. I hod the good fortune sever- 
al years ago to meet the renowned historian, Admiral 
Samuel Eliot Morison. In the course of our conversation, it 
developed that we were fellow alumni of "Sciences Po," 

although our years were different: he was there in 1914. 
We enjoyed comparing notes on our old school, and he 
subsequently gave me one of his books inscribed, "To Mary 
Morris Booth, from her Sciences Po beau. Samuel Eliot 

s. m 

President Pannell seeing off the 1959 JYF group. 

Many Junior Year graduates hove gone into the study and 
teaching of French professionally as a result of our year; all 
of us have an abiding appreciation of French culture. Due 
to an interest in French drama first generated by the theatre 
course in Paris, I have attended a little French play-reading 
class at Randolph-Macon Woman's College once a week 
for the past ten years. In that time we hove managed to 
read almost every French play that is fit to print — and some 
that ore not! 

Surely all Sweet Briar Junior Year in France alumni will enjoy 
things French for the rest of our lives. Not long ago, as I scur- 
ried about the Hollins College campus in quest of a speaker 
for the Lynchburg Alliance Fron^oise, a member of the 
administration of the college was heard to remark, "Once a 
Junior Year girl, always a Junior Year girl." So be it. 

March 2001 • 


A parents' welcome, 1 954 

of books in the library. This 
award placed the College 
among the elite for academic 

During the early "SOs the 
College wanted to expand to 
500 students but dormitory 
capacity was only 445: until 
Dew Dormitory was complet- 
ed in 1956, students were 
tucked into every available 
nook on campus. Seventeen 
moved into Boxwood Inn, ten 
went into Sweet Briar House, 
some moved in with faculty, 
and others doubled up. One 
alumna remembers those 
years as "Operation Sardine." 
Boxwood Inn was a combina- 
tion of dorm/steakhouse. Inn 
manager Lois Ballenger 
advertised steak dinners (com- 
plete) for $2.75, while a 
dozen or more students thun- 

Elizabeth Sprague 
with student, 1952 

dered overhead. 

A big building program 
was initiated in the early "SOs 
and more funds for endow- 
ment were sought. Mrs. 
Pannell found herself going 
from coast to coast following 
a punishing schedule to pro- 
mote the College. By the 
spring of 1956 more than 
$1,600,000 had been given or 
pledged. The expansion of the 
College, its new buildings, 
diverse cuniculum, increased 
faculty salaries and solvency 
in 1976 are due in large part 
to Anne Gary Pannell's cease- 
less efforts during her years as 
chief administrator. She prac- 
ticed what she preached: 
"Thinkers have to be heroes 
as well as idealists." 

All along the way crises 
were met as they arose. When 

Hurricane Hazel toppled 
1 ,000 trees on campus in 
1954. Sweet Briar sold the 
lumber, making a profit. 
When the librai^ was missing 
93 books, a published plea 
brought them all back. When 
Rocky Mountain spotted fever 
appeared in the County, the 
infirmary moved in with sharp 
needles and vaccine. When 
Boxwood Inn fell upon hard 
times, the students lovingly 
took over. There was a solu- 
tion to just about everything 
during those years. Sweet 
Briar under President 
Pannell's leadership was over- 
coming its odds and begin- 
ning to look with hope and 
assurance to its 100th birth- 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

By Nancy Godwin Baldwin '57 

Excerpted from remarks delivered during 1 986 Reunion 

A tribute to Peter Daniel as he retired 

[^ eter Vivian Daniel was a young man fresh from the 
I world of big city banks when he arrived at Sweet Briar 
I College in August of 1 954. Not very long before that 
p he had been unfamiliar with Sweet Briar: he explains 
that as a married graduate student at UVA he never visited 
the campus. Therefore when President Anne Pannell tele- 
phoned him to ask if he might be interested in the position of 
Assistant to the President and Treasurer of the College, he 
"really didn't know." About to depart for o stint of National 
Guard duty at summer camp, he promised to think about it. 

Mrs. Pannell telephoned again, saying that she would like to 
come to Richmond to see him. Not sure where exactly Sweet 
Briar was located, he suggested that she be in his office at 
the State Planters Bank at 9:00 the following morning. In 
those days Richmond was a 2 1/2-hour drive, but she was 
there at the hour's strike and Peter remembers being 
"absolutely intrigued by this person, her philosophies and 
goals for the College." The more he listened, the more inter- 
ested he became in Sweet Briar. 

Thirty-two years, two grown sons and much water over the 
dam later, he recalls that first autumn of his arrival on cam- 
pus and his first two Big Problems as a new administrator. 
Problem #1 was that no water was going over the dam: 
Central Virginia was suffering a major drought. The College 
depended entirely then on one large lake for its water supply 
(the second lake was not filled until 1960). VV'hen the stu- 
dents came in mid-September, the water level was extremely 
low and dropping by the day. By October the question he 
faced was whether or not the students would have to be sent 
home and the College closed. As the drought continued he 
prepared to have water trucked in to keep the College open. 

The first view most of the students had of him was at a 
required convocation, called to apprise the community of the 
desperate situation. An incredulous student body listened to 
Peter's unbelievable admonishments: there would be no drink- 
ing water at meals, taps were not to be left on while we 
brushed our teeth, we must rinse only (to this day I am moral- 
ly unable to let the water run!) and finally the real blow — 
showers/baths could be taken either Friday or Saturday but 
not both days. Each student was to be allowed only three 
such indulgences a week "for the duration." He suggested 
bathless Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays or Saturdays 

Hurricane Hazel's destruction, 1954 

but left it to us to devise our own schedules. 

I remember this period vividly because it occurred during the 
only six weeks of my life when I hove been closer to a horse 
than a field away. I was taking riding that fall to fulfill a phys- 
ical education requirement. You may be interested to know 
that there is not enough Arpege in the world to counteract the 
aroma of the stable; people blanched and drifted away 
when they sensed riders approaching. 

The doss of 1 957 honored him at Fall Step-singing with a 
song to the tune of the old round "Frere Jacques." It began 
"Bod News Peter, Bad News Peter, Said no baths. Said no 
baths" and ended "Then come Hazel." In a few hours' time 
in mid-October, Hurricane Hazel filled the lake, downed 
some 1 ,000 trees on campus and gave Peter his second big 
problem: making the Refectory safe, since Hazel had weak- 
ened it structurally. He must have felt the irony of leaving the 
pressures of city life for the tranquility of a college in the 

Peter's staff in 1 954 consisted of himself. Assistant Treasurer 
Mabel Chipley and the late Rebecca Carroll, who ran Sweet 
Briar's bank window until her retirement in 1 974. His office 
equipment included a hand-cranked bookkeeping machine 
and Rebecca's "money-making machine" with which she 
entertained students and faculty by demonstrating in periods 
when there wasn't a run on the bank. She would insert a dol- 
lar bill into the "machine," turn the handle and withdraw a 
five-dollar bill. 

This delighted all comers until a faculty wife mentioned in 
Lynchburg that Sweet Briar "made" its own money, she had 
witnessed it! Peter had no choice but to confiscate Rebecca's 

March 2001 • 


"l3atC yiewi' feX^' Oi- inM^ Uu/ <sm^ •j«K^tu^Met in^ whuA 
iMhOch hi/ hiMxAhih ^wmP ^%a}^ m^ne/i^, h(/ woA O/ti^- 

toy to avoid a confrontation with the FBI. 

"Bad News Peter" is not the only soubriquet by which he 
was blessed. Well-known for the great care with which he 
handled Sweet Briar's money, he was a terror to anyone 
whose departmental budget was overexpended by any 
amount. On one occasion the state of the admissions budget 
exceeded all expectations in expenditures. When this came 
to his attention, Peter reached for the telephone, not that he 
needed it that day to be heard a floor away. Mrs. Eddie 
White, admissions office manager probably for longer than 
Peter hod been olive at that point, and somewhat a charac- 
ter herself, was ready for him. To his "THE ADMISSIONS 
OFFICE BUDGET IS IN TROUBLE!", she replied softly, "Why, 
Cory, hello." (Silence on Peter's end of the line). "Have I ever 
told you that you remind me of Cory Grant? You do, you 
know." Neither the principals in this incident nor any other 
residents of Fletcher at that time have ever forgotten. For a 
while, some of the budgetary memos were addressed to 
Gary Grant, Vice President and Treasurer. 

Besides being a devotee of fiscal responsibility, Peter was a 
veteran of many fund-raising efforts. He oversaw the pro- 
gramming, planning and construction of Dew, Babcock, the 
Chapel, the Rogers Riding Center, Guion, Meto Gloss, the 
Wailes Center, the Prothro Natatorium, the Book Shop, 
Prothro Commons, and the Dana Wing of the Mary Helen 
Cochran Library, as well as the renovations of Benedict, the 
"Music Box," the nursery school building, the dairy, Fletcher, 
and the Refectory. And Reid Dining Room became The Pit. 
The old lake was drained so that its leaking dam could be 
repaired (the 1 904 mortar gave way and the dam was 
shored up with pipes until it could be fixed, causing it to 
look, in Peter's words, "tike a toothless wonder"), A second 
lake was added to supplement the water supply. Mt. St. 
Angelo was reacquired through a gift/purchase arrangement 
and became the home of the Virginia Center for the Creative 
Arts. When fire razed the mansion in 1 979, new quarters 

for the VCCA were built on the land. The road system 
through the campus was redirected and parking lots con- 
structed as increasing numbers of students brought cars to 

Survivor of countless negotiations in aid of all this progress, 
he remembers particularly Charles Dana's visit to Sweet 
Briar. Mr. Dana wished to see the College before consider- 
ing a grant. President Pannell asked Martha von Briesen '31 
(then director of public relations) to present the library wing 
project and Peter was to speak for on administration build- 
ing. When Mr. Dana arrived, everyone was seated around 
a table to discuss various uses to which a grant might be put. 
Peter was "about four sentences" into his presentation when 
Mr. Dana broke in. He was sorry to interrupt, he said, but he 
couldn't care less about on administration building. For all he 
cared, he continued, the administration could work in the 
basement! Peter sat down. The Dona Foundation made a 
grant for the library wing. 

Peter Daniel learns the Twist, 1962 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Many gifts were presented to the College during Peter's 
tenure. Two unusual ones stand out to him as especially mem- 
orable: a pair of peacocks and the Southern Railroad 
Station. The peacocks began strolling the grounds during a 
summer in the '60s, in the quieter days before Dennis Van 
der Meer's tennis enthusiasts and other groups were in resi- 
dence for a full schedule of summer programs. After the first 
surprised sightings, they became less of a curiosity — their 
strolls were commonplace. Fall came, the students returned 
and the peacocks, perhaps stimulated by more activity, 
began breaking their evening naps in the trees surrounding 
Sweet Briar House by calling to each other. A peacock's 
high shriek sounds rather like a human's cry for "HELP! 
HELP!" The startled reactions of overnight guests at Sweet 
Briar House were matched in intensity by those of the night 
watchmen; all were sure every time a peacock gave voice 
that some student was in terrible trouble out there some- 
where. Peter had to farm out the fowls. 

The Sweet Briar Station was the gift of the Southern Railroad 
when the train stop was discontinued. Southern kindly 
offered to move it to the campus. Unfortunately the move 
took place while the ground was soft from autumn rains. The 
station spent a long winter mired in mud in the field below 
the dairy, another curiosity for visitors and a daily reminder 
to Peter that nothing is ever easy. 

Peter's reminiscences suggest that a major requirement of his 
job was that he be ready for anything: 

• Calming a college president whose youngest son and a 
pilot have just disrupted a hockey gome by landing their 
disabled airplane in a cornfield adjacent to the hockey 

Daniel coached a very successful 
Sweet Briar diving team 

• Reassuring a future president of the United States (Richard 
Nixon) who, on disembarking from the train at Sweet 
Briar Station with his wife and daughter Tricia, spies a sta- 
tion wagon sporting a full gun rack... three days after 
President John F. Kennedy was shot in November of 1 963 

• Coaching a very successful Sweet Briar diving team; 

• Preparing for the College's "day in court" in the 1965 law 

• Sponsoring two classes (1962 and 1966); 

• Helping to set up a new Junior Year Abroad program with 
the University of Seville; 

• Operating a beauty parlor in the basement of the gymna- 

• Acting as fire chief of Sweet Briar, rendering "fireside 
chats" to the students and conducting fire drills 

In the fall of 1 979, the Sweet Briar Board of Directors and 
Overseers proclaimed "Peter Daniel Day" in celebration of 
25 years of his being ready for anything in his service to 
Sweet Briar. The Board acknowledged that day that Peter 
also had made the College "ready for anything": his money 
management, of course, is legendary. At the time of his 
retirement in 1986, Sweet Briar College had operated in the 
black for 32 years, perhaps the only educational institution in 
the northern hemisphere to do so continuously. Peter would 
not allow the College to be in the red — he didn't believe in 
it! President Harold Whitemon lauded him at some length at 
a faculty meeting for his skillful wielding of college funds. The 
next day Mme. Sommerville, professor of French, crossed 
paths with Peter's wife Lydia at the post office. "So wonder- 
ful," Mme. Sommerville said smilingly, "that Peter has kept us 
in the dork!" 

Thank you, PVD, for keeping us in the dark. 

Morch 2001 • 


* % 

r f 

yc/^, ViMOniO/, 

June 4, 1956 — I don't remember a lot 
about that day, which happened to be the 
day I graduated from Sweet Briar. I 
remember the sun came out after a drenching 
weekend and that I was the only non-honor 
graduate to whom Mrs. Pannell said more than 
"Congratulations" (She said, "I'm so glad you 
kept your hat on," something I was having trou- 
ble doing during rehearsal.) I remember asking 
a friend who had come from Connecticut to see 
me graduate to run back to Gray to see if my 
camera was in the car. She returned breathlessly 
to tell me it was but didn't bring it with her. 
Therefore, I have no pictorial record of that 
important day. 


By Byrd Stone '56 

Excerpted from her 

article in the Fall 1976 

75th Anniversary Issue 

of the Alumnae 


Copy edited for length 

Jcuh^ t(s^ wta)v l3eMriMa/ ihs'iti' vrv the/ Oa^ifmt^ ynCMvm^ 
OA uruiUaietC \m/ th(/ H(Mn4Mi»ok' a/n4/ (ru/ the'/$»cud' 


Little did I know as we 
drove out of the gates that 
afternoon, ahnost the last 
'5b graduate to leave because I 
had neglected to pack ahead of 
time, that I would return nine 
years later as a member of the 
faculty [director. Campus 
School]. After recently spending 
several days closeted in the 
Sweet Briar Library archives, 
catching up with things between 
the time I left and the time I 
returned, I find it interesting to 
note similarities in 1976 and 
1956. Yet just when I think, 
"Why, things haven't really 
changed so much," I'm hit with 
something totally out of the past. 

After reading Sueet Briar 
News articles concerning apathy. 
lack of attendance at lectures 
and concerts, sophomore discon- 
tent, isolation despairs, and criti- 
cism of courses, I double- 
checked the dates of the papers 
to make sure I hadn't stumbled 
into 1976 instead of 20 years 
ago. However, upon further 
reading, I came upon the follow- 
ing item in a May '57 issue: 
Failure to wear Bermuda 
shorts in the correct man- 
ner as indicated in the 
Handbooli and by the 
Social Committee will 
result in a student's privi- 
lege of wearing Bermuda 
shorts being removed for 
a period of one week. 
I wondered briefly if the 
Social Committee was going to 
remove the privilege, the shorts 

or both. . .but at least I knew I 
was in the right decade. 

Reading on I found recom- 
mendations for what to wear on 
Mid-winters Weekend; i.e., a 
"dressy wool dress or one of the 
newer cocktail suits with jew- 
eled collars or a touch of fur. An 
understated tafteta would also be 
appropriate." I thought of an 
instance a few years ago when 
one of my student teachers 
informed me that she was unable 
to go on a field trip with the 
children because I had said stu- 
dents must wear dresses and she 
did not have one dress on cam- 
pus. Somehow "understated 
taft'eta" seemed far away as I 
picked up my cane, repositioned 
my teeth, and headed home from 
the archives to take a slug of 
Geritol before dinner. 

On a more serious note, the 
Sweet Briar of the'56-'66 
decade appeared, at least from 
my reading, to be one of great 
change progressing (regressing?) 

rapidly, albeit subtly, toward the 
climactic late '60s. In 1956 
Sweet Briar's endowment was 
$1,500,000; alumnae-giving was 
the largest in the history of the 
College, and it cost $2,414 for 
the College to educate a student, 
although the comprehensive fee 
was $2,000. However, fore- 
warned is forearmed: an editori- 
al in the October 3, 1956, 5fi 
News noted that "prices may 
continue to rise..." 

In the fall of "56 the first stu- 
dents were living in Dew 
Dormitory, ecstatic over the fact 
that there were two phones on 
each hall and that one did not 
have to yell "flushing" when 
someone else was taking a 

In a mock election held on 
campus the Eisenhower-Nixon 
ticket won over the Stevenson- 
Kefauver one and a discussion 
was held concerning integration 
and states' rights. The big news, 
however, concerned the possibil- 

ity of Sweet Briar's getting dial 
telephones, and the relaxation of 
the hotel-motel rule so that stu- 
dents would be permitted to go 
into rooms in the 
Charlottesville/Lexington areas 
with their dates if the date's par- 
ents were present. Oh wow! 
Students were also allowed to 
take "lates" at Tommie's without 
special pemiission. Since 
Tommie's closed at 1 1 :00 p.m. I 
don't really know what made 
this newsworthy. 

A new course for seniors, 
"Problems in Perspective," was 
in the cookbook stage. It was to 
be concerned with problems of 
contemporary importance to 
humanity. The first two topics 
being considered were "Juvenile 
Delinquency" and "Latin 
America." One cannot help but 
wonder how, from all of the 

itMemM- weM (mAuy im/ 
1)W 'ps'vnut^s'ui^, eoitatw 
sviH' th(/ pK^ thaP the^ 
WiM/ two' pJ(v»'r)M *ia/ tadv 
htM (M\4/ tht^ »nC/ !iuC n^ 
h£W(/ U- i^M "^Imfwnf" 
whe/n/ io^m&^W/ dii/ woA' 
taking cvihsweA. 

Sweet Tones perform at Midwinters, 1957 

March 2001 • 


problems of humanity, these two 
were singled out. 

In this present era of ERA (I 
couldn't resist that). I couldn't 
help but laugh (quietly, in the 
archives) as the News noted that 
Sweet Briar was to sponsor a 
conference on "Woman Power" 
and a few columns further on 
"Students Choose May Queen." 
I know this is significant; I just 
can't put my finger on why. 

As the students of 1976 are 
continuing to question the value 
of a liberal arts education and 
the faculty has spent a good part 
of the year discussing distribu- 
tion requirements. I found the 
following headlines in a spring 
'57 News rather timely: 

Liberal Arts Education 
Frees Mind 

Seniors Realize Opportunity 

Required Courses Supply 
Good Restraint 

I think I'll run off reprints. 

In the spring of 1957 the pro- 
posal for a chapel fund was 
made. In the fall of '57 the 
Board approved plans to build a 
$750,000 fine arts center. Under 
the able and inspired leadership 
of Dr. Anne Gary Pannell, Sweet 
Briar was growing rapidly but 
with taste and vision. In this 
time of expansion for so many 
colleges. Sweet Briar continued 
to do it in the best possible way. 
Fall 1957 brought violence to 
Little Rock. Reid was given a 
smoker, and cane-bottomed 
chairs in Benedict (nee 

Academic) were replaced. There 
were all of 1 5 cars on campus 
belonging to students — seniors, 
of course. The Patchbox (cam- 
pus beauty parlor) got new oper- 
ators, Saturday morning classes 
were going strong, and it was 
announced that rugs in students' 
rooms might not exceed 4'x 6' 
as it made it too difficult for the 
maids to clean the rooms. 

Interest was high in having a 
course in nonwestem civiliza- 
tion. However, it took a number 
of years for this finally to be 

There was a symposium on 
"Modem Science and Human 
Values" in March '58. In that 
same year Glamour magazine 
sponsored a contest for the Ten 
Best Dressed College Girls of 
America and Sweet Briar girls 
were urged to enter At the end 
of April this same year exactly 
three seniors knew definitely 
what they were going to do after 

In September of '58 students 
returned to campus to find that 
the reflecting pool in front of the 
library was gone and that from 
then on they were to clean their 
own rooms. Also in 1958 $6,851 
was pledged to the Campus 
Chest. Were students more con- 
cerned in the late '50s or was it 
easier to give money than to 
offer a gift of self? 

In the spring of 1959 the 
Committee on Instruction pro- 
posed a speech course for jun- 
iors. This was not met with fan- 

Top left, Professor Bates, language lab 1957 

Above, Victoria Buckingham and Virginia "Gino" Weed, 1957 

tastic enthusiasm; the committee 
was urged to reconsider. Also 
that spring the faculty granted 
the students' request that they be 
permitted to assume individual 
responsibility for deciding the 
number of overnights they 
would take. The faculty would 
have had little choice as this was 
a legitimate request by suppos- 
edly mature young women. 
However, as one stands at the 
Information Office in 1976 and 
sees great numbers of students 
departing on Thursday to return 
on Monday, or later, one won- 
ders if the faculty made the right 

Having sat on College 
Council as a faculty member 
during the late '60s when it was 
finally decided, with much dis- 
cussion, that students could 
drink on campus, I found an edi- 
torial in an April 1959 News 
particularly interesting. It simply 
suggested that there be more 
driving time allotted between 
activities on campus and off dur- 
ing the May Day Weekend so 
that dates who had been drink- 

ing would not have to exceed 
the speed limit. There was no 
request for alcohol on campus. I 
don't believe there was even any 
thought of it. 

As I read through years of 
News issues, I kept wondering 
why they seem to be so much 
more readable than those of 
today. Could it be because of 
articles such as one in 
November of '59 which noted 
that certain "authorized" hunters 
(including Peter V. Daniel. 
Joseph Gilchrist, and the late Dr. 
Arthur Bales) were free during 
the week of November 23rd to 
reduce the squirrel populations? 
This was written, naturally, in all 

In January 1960 Arthur 
Schlesinger spoke at Sweet Briar 
on "Foreign Policy in the 
Atomic Age." That same month 
a student won a stereo from the 
Philip Morris Company by col- 
lecting 13,709 empty cigarette 
packs. I assume they were 
empty. Obviously the Surgeon 
General had not gotten to her 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 








May 23, 1956 

Dear Mrs. Pannell; 

Please extend my warm greetings to all who join 
in the observance of the fiftieth anniversary of 
Sweet Briar College. 

Our country owes much to its private institutions 
of higher learning, including its small, independent 
liberal arts colleges for women. I applaud the 
contribution which Sweet Briar has made to the 
educational and cultural life of America. 

On Commencement Day I hope you will extend my 
congratulations to the members of the graduating 
class. I join with them, and with their teachers 
and friends, in saluting the College on its jubilee 
year, and in looking forward to an even finer second 
half-century for Sweet Briar. 

Students enjoy tea, 1 957 

Iren Marik was continuing to 
play benefit concerts while 
Captain Littauer conducted yet 
another Horsemanship Clinic. 
The average salary for the 
instructor rank at Sweet Briar 

was $4. 1 74, and the freshman 
class complained that Sweet 
Briar lacked stimulation and that 
a "wastebasket of apathy" clut- 
tered the souls of students. Now 
that's got class! Obviously the 

Executive Board, which had 
announced in September that it 
was planning to create opportu- 
nities for students to develop 
qualities such as "independent 
and creative thinking," "aware- 
ness of responsibility to the 
community and the country," 
and a "desire for learning," had 
a problem. 

Though Sweet Briar might 
have been a wastebasket of apa- 
thy in 1960, the Bloodmobile 
managed to collect 154 pints of 
blood even though there was a 
snowstorm and no one off- 
campus could get there. 
Certainly the wastebasket has 
turned into a trash barrel in 
1 976, when those of us working 
at the Bloodmobile are ecstatic 
over 90-some pints, without a 

The racial situation was rife 
during these years, but SBC stu- 
dents appeared to look the other 
way, if the News is any indica- 
tion. Although public schools 
had been closed for two years in 
a nearby community, the first 
real mention of any problem 
was in April 1960 when one edi- 
torial appeared referring to the 

At the end of the 1959-60 
academic year, two longtime 
members of the Sweet Briar 
community retired — Mrs. Bertha 
Wailes " 1 7 and Miss Gladys 
Boone. Both remained in the 
area, active in Sweet Briar and 
local community affairs. 

As the 1960-61 year opened. 

Holiday loveliness for you,- hair 

Call for appointment — Sweet Briar 119 


. . .thl/ f/fmhtnOm/ claM 

a/ruC thaP Oj "wo/itib-tuhit' 
sjf apaXh/iy" chMiMA/ the/ 

Drawing by Gwen Speel '60 

March 2001 • 





Nannette McBurney Crowdus 
puts ■' 

1950s produced some of the most compatible, 
tightly-knit classes Sweet Briar has ever seen. The 
students — greater in number than the College was 
equipped to handle — quickly overcame pro- 
nounced regional differences to form broad social net- 
works and enduring friendships. 

In an era renowned and often criticized for its conform- 
ist tendencies, the fifties classes at Sweet Briar may have 
coalesced for reasons that were for more basic and tan- 
gible: a lack of dormitory space coupled with antiquat- 
ed plumbing and severe weather. 

Before Dew dormitory was completed in the fall of 
1956, the community was engaged in "Operation 
Sardine." Students arriving from every corner of the 
country — Massachusetts, California, Florida, Missouri, 
Connecticut, Texas, Colorado, New Jersey, Michigan — 
were packed into every square inch of available space, 
including the Boxwood Inn, Sweet Briar House, and fac- 
ulty homes. Dorm single rooms turned into doubles. 

Cooperation was essential. In the dorms, students yelled 
"Flushing!" before doing so to avoid scalding their class- 
mates in the showers — that is, when they were allowed 
to take showers. At the start of the 1954 academic year, 
years of drought and a leaky dam forced the community 
to ration water until Hurricane Hazel brought relief in 

"Everyone remembers Hazel," says Nannette McBurney 
Crowdus '57. "The wind and rain were so fierce, we 
had ropes strung between the dormitories so that stu- 
dents could pull themselves to the dining hall. There 
were lots of young men trapped in Grammer Commons 
with tight security so they couldn't possibly get near 

young ladies during the night. There was no power and 
everyone pulled together." 

Pulling together was a regular feature of student life in 
the 1 950s. On Patchwork Day, classmates gathered to 
tackle serious chores like mending fences, raking leaves, 
planting roses, and whitewashing barns. "It created a 
sense of camaraderie," says Nannette. "Before televi- 
sion became a great leveler, the College hod radically 
different cultures meeting in the dormitories. It wasn't just 
a matter of stateside and other countries, or North and 
South. In those days, Richmond, Virginia and Atlanta, 
Georgia were two very different places. It was shocking, 
a real eye opener." 

Students also pulled together informally to plan dates 
and share rides. The campus was a lively crossroads, 
with waves of young men arriving on weekends from 
W&L, Penn, the Naval Academy, UVA, and Yale. "The 
world came to Sweet Briar," explains Nannette. "And 
we went out into the world — to places as close as Buck's 
or as for away as Paris — with the expectation that our 

Pafchwork Day, 1959 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Refectory, 1958 

'good taste and good judgment' would prevail. We 
were extremely independent. We played by the rules, 
of course. But the trust we were granted in return was 

"It was the decade of conformity, of IBM and The Man 
in the Gray Flannel Suit. We didn't question the dress 
codes or the curfews — maybe, in part, because of the 
benefits. If you were out on a horrible date, it was 
great to be able to bat your eyes and say, sorry, I have 
to be home at midnight." 

Similarities among students in the fifties went beyond a 
shared preference for knee socks, Bermuda shorts, and 
Berber raincoats. "Most of my classmates," says 
Nannette, "were academic and social achievers who 
were accustomed to seeing their mothers and grand- 
mothers assume leadership roles in their communities. 
The big surprise, the thing that was amazing about 
Sweet Briar, was seeing women in professional roles." 

Perhaps the most unifying and inspiring force behind 
SBC's fifties generation was President Anne Gory 
Pannell. "She had arrived," explains Nannette. "She 
was at her zenith, putting SBC on the map academical- 
ly, maintaining a grueling travel schedule, raising mil- 
lions of dollars for the College, and still taking time to 
teach a class. She made a lasting impression — especial- 
ly on a group of students who were just beginning to 
become self-reliant, responsible adults. 

"Sweet Briar was liberating. We didn't feel restricted. 
There was a reassuring structure in place that left us 
free to focus on and worry about other things, to priori- 
tize, and moke decisions. Everybody was in the same « 
boot. Coming here changed our lives completely. As 
soon as we stepped on the train, the cord was cut. We 
were on our own. It was fabulous." ^fl 

and with it a new decade, there 
appeared to be a new poHtical 
awareness among the students. 
We moved from the "Do noth- 
ing '50s — the Silent 
Generation" to the "Swinging 
Sixties"," a generation of college 
students who were no longer 
Silent! This was an election 
year: Richard Nixon was run- 
ning for the presidency, not 
away from it. I wondered, as I 
flipped through the October 5, 
1960 News, who lived in Room 
333 — domiitory unknown. A 
photo showed the door plastered 
with pictures of and banners for 
Richard Milhous Nixon. 

During 1960-61 a new chair 
in psychology was named for 
Dr. Helen K. Mull and we 
learned that she had bequeathed 
her home on Faculty Row to the 
College. It was to become the 
Deanery. Sweet Briar 
announced that there would be 
an Asian Studies Program in 
cooperation with R-MWC and 
Lynchburg College; Governor 
Edmundson of Oklahoma and 
Thurston B. Morton of 
Kentucky were on campus for 
Founders' Day: and a debate 
started over the need for a 
chapel versus the need for a sci- 
ence building. The era of beat- 
niks was upon us. but as stu- 
dents in their matching 
McMullen skirts and sweaters 
planned for Billy Butterfield to 
play at Fall Weekend, it was dif- 
ficuh to believe. 

Nixon won the mock elec- 

fhe/ wim4/ cmtC hoMv weMr 

ifhiMu^ l^eXwtm/ the/ eCsfv- 

Ptapf£4/ Oru ^'uimimi£^ 

ieOA^A^ io- tfuM/ cmi(/i(/n/t/ 

thlM' woA n»-pswe^ am4/ 

March 2001 • 


/iiATuP I3*Ua^ CMe^ 
J9hm^ HsfkimA, I9&I. 






tion over Kennedy; it was 
announced that the new Fine 
Arts Center would be named 
after Mary Reynolds Babcock, 
and there was much friendly 
kidding in the News about the 
"lowly freshmen." This I find 
interesting, because in 1976 1 
have freshman advisees who 
room with juniors, and I often 
find that I am unable to differen- 
tiate between freshmen and sen- 
iors in some of my classes. 

There was much questioning 
of the Honor System at Sweet 
Briar during 1960-61, generally 
for the usual reasons of social 
versus academic life under the 
system. The Judicial Board was 
accused of "terrorist" tactics in 
their efforts to stop smoking in 
undesignated areas, causing 
multitudinous letters to the edi- 
tor of the News, one with 192 
signatures. Certainly that 
renowned apathy was not pres- 
ent in this case. 

Brawn and Beauty 

Excerpfed from July 1 96 1 Alumnae Magazine 

Betsy Parker '63, Franklin, VA and Allison Jennings 
'64, New Canaan, CT are the new Middle Atlantic 
Intercollegiate Doubles Champions. In o tennis tourno 
ment at Mary Baldwin College on May 19, they 
defeated their opponents from William and Mary 8-6, 
6-1 . This is the first time Sweet Briar players have won 
this championship. 



Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Top, May Day, 1 959 

Above, Gwen Speel '60, foreground, at work in a math class 

Sweet Briar's College Bowl 
Team was victorious over 
Colorado State and Hanover 
College but went down to defeat 
at the hands (or tongues) of 
Johns Hopkins. Construction 
was started on the new Book 
Shop, a contract was awarded 
for building the Meta Glass dor- 
mitory, and Alan Shepard 
became the first American 

In 1960-61 civil rights was 
the foremost domestic problem 
in the country. In Lynchburg six 
students were arrested at a drug- 
store during a sit-in, but they 
were not Sweet Briar students. 
In 1960-61 Dew got private tele- 
phones, Stewart Alsop spoke on 
campus, and The Brothers Four 
played for May Day. 

"Decade of Dilemma" was 
the theme of the Executive 
Board as 1961-62 began. In the 

orientation issue of the News an 
editorial noted that the usual car- 
nival mood of orientation was 
absent, with thoughts instead on 
Beriin, Katanga, and Brazil. 
Thoughts of bomb shelters were 
prevalent and an aura of unease 
prevailed at Sweet Briar as it did 
over the rest of the country. 
Another editorial in the same 
September issue urged students 
not to take college for granted, 
to meet the challenge, and to 
decide how college was going to 
fit them for our ever-changing 
world. A note at the bottom of 
this timely piece of writing men- 
tioned that it had first been pub- 
lished in the October 1, 1941 
Sweet Briar News. 

A meeting of the deans of 
various colleges in the area was 
concerned with the general 
messiness of girls (and boys) in 
their dress. Sweet Briar girls 

Drawing by Gwen Speel '60 

were wearing Bermudas to 
classes at other colleges and the 
general neatness of the students 
was criticized. Little did the 
powers that be know then.... 

Opening Convocation was 
held in the new Babcock 
Auditorium and Lester Lanin 
played for Fall Dance Weekend. 
The Curriculum Committee 
requested a five-day class week, 
radioactivity in the area 
increased fifty per cent, and 
speakers on campus included 
Margaret Mead, Norman 
Cousins and Madame Indira 
Nehru Gandhi. 

When Sweet Briar opened in 
the fall of 1962, the National 
Student Association, an organi- 
zation quite active during this 
decade, had debated all night at 
the national convention over the 
resumption of nuclear tests by 
the United States. When the vote 
was taken in the early morning 
hours, the decision by no more 
than 30 out of 1,500 votes cast, 
including one by the Sweet 
Briar delegate, was that "The 
United States National Student 
Association condemns all mili- 
tary and politically oriented tests 
of nuclear devices. ..and particu- 
larly condemns the Soviet gov- 
ernment for having broken the 
thirty-four month moratorium." 
Even into the relatively ivory 
tower atmosphere of Sweet 
Briar, the world was encroach- 
ing. SB students at last seemed 
to feel that the world was in a 
mess and badly in need of help. 

lr\/ IS&0-&I cml'u/^hM' 
pfi9^te/rri/ On/ Uu/ CwA/nt^. 

March 2001 • 


Swimmers at the lake 

A dance 


ca. 1960 

Extra line mercerized 
and Saaiorlzed broad- 
cloth. Luxurious em- 
broidered edging on 
skirt bottom. Fully ad- 
Jwlalilii TOlnWwnl- 

Formal length 12.98 
Ballerina 10.95 

In October 1962 the student 
body sent a telegram to the 
Mississippi governor noting that 
by a vote of 423 to 124 the stu- 
dent body of Sweet Briar 
College condemned the illegality 
of his attempt "to supersede the 
law established by the federal 
courts" and also noting that they 
"deplore the violence and blood- 
shed which resulted from the 

Although the News was full 
of national and international 
events, there were "domestic" 
items also. Meta Glass domiito- 
ry and dining room opened, the 
Kellogg Foundation gave Sweet 
Briar $10,000 in book funds to 
improve its teacher education 
program, and the Freshman 
Fashion Show went on as usual. 
The Sweet Briar and Hamilton 
College choirs were invited to 
sing in the Evensong service at 
the National Cathedral in 
Washington. D. C. and there 
was a symposium on "Religion 
and the Arts" for which 8 1 per- 
cent of the student body 
remained on campus on a week- 
end! Small wonder since the 
Symposium featured such 
renowned people as George 
Boas. Flannery O'Connor. John 
Ciardi and John Ranck. as well 
as our own Iren Marik. the 
Dance Group, and the Sweet 
Briar Choir. 

The plea continued for jun- 
iors to have cars. The Lettermen 
performed for May Day, and 
Sweet Briar became the first col- 

lege to win the Middle Atlantic 1 
Intercollegiate Doubles Title for 
three years in a row. 

When college opened for 
1963-64 the old gates had been 
restored at the entrance; the 
library was renovated: the 
chapel was on the drawing 
board: direct-distance dialing 
had arrived at Sweet Briar: and 
four Negro children in 
Birmingham were killed by a 
bomb while attending Sunday 

The Board passed a resolu- 
tion on November 2. 1963 
which directed its Executive 
Committee "to take whatever 
legal action may be necessary 
and appropriate to secure a judi- 
cial determination as to whether 
we may. consistent with the 
charitable purposes of Indiana 
Fletcher Williams, admit quali- 
fied persons to Sweet Briar 
College, regardless of race." 
Thus began a long and harrow- 
ing battle for the Board and for 
President Pannell, which includ- 
ed voluminous and often threat- 
ening mail to various Board 
members, and references in 
Amherst County to Mrs. Pannell 
as "that disgraceful northern 
lady." Northern Alabama per- 

While litigation continued. 
Sweet Briar students mourned 
the death of President John F. 
Kennedy and realized anew that 
the outside world was affecting 
their lives even in Sweet Briar's 
relatively secluded atmosphere. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Drawing by Gwen Sped '60 

In the late fall Mrs. Pannell 
traveled to India for six weeks 
as a guest of the State 
Department, in order to help 
make arrangements to set up an 
exchange program between 
American and Indian women's 
colleges. Fund drives continued 
for the science building, and 
Miss Lucy Crawford, a longtime 
beloved member of the faculty, 
died. At the end of the school 
year. Dr. Carol Rice retired after 
29 years of service as College 
physician. The 1963-64 year had 
been one of change and turmoil 
at Sweet Briar as well as in the 
outside world; and yet. though 
approaching the era of unrest of 
the late ■60s. it was a subtle 
approach. Though moving 
toward changes which would 
forever affect the College, no 
one. at least outwardly, appeared 
aware of it. 

Election year 1964-65. The 
Goldwater-Miller ticket was at 
Sweet Briar in a mock election 
causing a stir between faculty 
and students. This was not so 
much due to political fervor as 
to the fact that the faculty were 
miffed because they had not 
been properly informed of the 
time of voting and therefore did 
not participate as much as they 
might have liked. 

Student-faculty teas which 
had been being held for years 
but without an overabundance of 
enthusiasm, were renamed 
"Chautauquas." after the intel- 
lectual satherinss held in New 

England many years previous. 
Attendance immediately 
improved. The target date for the 
chapel was set for late in 1965. 
and Mr. Charles Dana offered a 
challenge grant of $300,000 to 
be matched by December 1965. 
Juniors continued their plea for 
cars. Editorials were written 
concerning the disregard for 
Sweet Briar's dress regulations, 
and not only were students 
admonished for poor attendance 
at lectures and concerts, but the 
faculty was also! 

The seeds of the "service to 
others" era were being sown as 
"Challenge" emerged. This was 
an organization formed to help 
those who needed tutoring, who 
were shut-ins or who needed to 
learn skills such as typing. 1 find 
it difficult to picture Sweet Briar 
girls TEACHING typing when 
they've been complaining ever 
since I was a student that they 
wanted to LEARN to type. But 
that's what the News said and I 
know it couldn't be wrongl 

There had been much debate 
over the previous years concern- 
ing the Sweet Briar Song. Many 
versions were offered but one by 
Dr. Peter Penzoldt seemed to be 
indicative of the great building 

program going on at the time: 
Sweet Briar, Sweet Briar. 

Flower Fair 
What racket fills thine country 

When dozers roar and mowers 

While we teach at Sweet Briar! 

Anyone who has tried to lec- 
ture while buzz saws, power 
mowers and bulldozers work 
away right outside the windows, 
will immediately identify with 
Peter Penzoldt's version. 

In a supplement to the 
January 13. \965 SB News 
headlines blasted: "Unanimous 
Request for Shift in Grant of 
Powers." Here beginneth a long 
struggle to change the 
Constitution of the Student 
Government Association, possi- 
bly the purpose of which was, at 
least at the time, to limit the 
powers of the faculty, a faculty 
which had just turned down a 
student request for juniors to 
have cars. 

It was announced that Dean 
Mary Pearl would retire at the 
end of the 1964-65 school year 
and in Febiuary the appointment 
of Dr. Catherine S. Sims as dean 
was announced. Dean Pearl 
would be hard to replace but in 

Professor Miriam Bennett in 
biology class 

1961 Briar Patch 

"...The history of the col- 
lege and the plantation 
before it is all around us, 
but it is the present and 
the future which must 
occupy us. 

Our world is not the one 
Daisy Williams knew. 
We live under the threat 
of world annihilation. 
Students at Sweet Briar, 
like students everywhere, 
hove studied the philoso- 
phies and actions of 
men. We are told we are 
the hope for the future 
and for President 
Kennedy's New 
Frontier... We ore ready 
to answer the challenge 
of the present, while we 
are here and when we 

March 2001 • 


Lilly Rappaport conducts a physics lab, 1959 

Mrs. Sims the College had 
found a dynamic and unbeliev- 
ably capable individual. If all 
professional women were of the 
caliber of Anne Pannell and 
Catherine Sims, there would be 
no need for ERA! 

In a small article on page six 
of the February 10 SB News, it 
was noted that "The Circuit 
Court of Amherst County has 
taken under advisement the 
question of the will of Indiana 
Fletcher Williams. The Board of 
Directors awaits the aid and 
direction of the Court as to the 
rights, duties and responsibili- 
ties" of same. More prominently 
displayed, and also eliciting 

Gary Cooper at the Sweet 
Briar Station? 

Quoted from the Lynchburg 
News //( the November 
1955 Alumnae Magazine 

"Lynchburgers will probably get a little extra thrill from 
the film Court Martial of Billy Mitchell when they see the 
sequence showing Mitchell (Gai^ Cooper) alighting from 
a Southern Railway train at Sweet Briar College. This it 
turns out was no romantic interlude — Mitchell wasn't 
stopping off to see a college girl, but to make a telephone 
call after his trial for insubordination." 

more reaction in the next issue 
of the paper was a headline, 
"Glamour Seeks Sweet Briar 
Representative in National Best 
Dressed Contest." 

Although still mild, student 
unrest Sweet Briar style was 
continuing to slip in. "Student 
Protests Grow This Year," 
"Students Concerned With 
Sweet Briar Image," and from 
an editorial in the April 21, 
1965 News: "Cloistered in our 
persistent provincialism here at 
Sweet Briar, it often seems more 
convenient to forget the 'outside 
worid" — indeed perhaps 'ignor' 
(sic) is more apropos, for it is 
difficult to forget what we never 

A cornerstone ceremony for 
the Connie M. Guion Science 
Building was held on April 22. 
A joint committee of faculty and 
students began work for the 
revision of the Constitution 
(Sweet Briar's), and it was 
announced that "No blue jeans 
or wheat jeans may be worn out- 
side unless covered by a coat. 
When jeans are worn at all they 
must be unspotted and 
unfrayed." One might wonder 
why I consider this last item 

newsworthy. Anyone visiting the 
campus during the past few 
years would understand. 

Physical changes continued 
in 1965-66 as the Guion Science 
Building opened for business, 
the chapel was expected to open 
in late December, the 
Infomiation Office was moved 
to Manson and the main road 
through the center of the campus 
was closed oft. Church services 
were held in the lecture room of 
the science building: I for one 
found it difficult to be spiritually 
inspired while gazing at the 
chart of the elements. 

In November 1965, the 
Board voted to go to court to 
answer the question of whether 
Sweet Briar could admit stu- 
dents regardless of race. 

Meanwhile, as a six-year-old 
who did not want to leave my 
class at the end of the year told 
me, "Life must go on',' and so it 
did at Sweet Briar. Jeans, both 
blue and wheat, were allowed on 
campus uncovered. Lois 
Ballenger retired after ten years 
as manager of the "Duncan 
Hines Recommended" Boxwood 
Inn. with a total of 38 years of 
service to the College under her 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 


. . . by the World's Wittiest Playwrights 




June 20 - June 23 

An English comedy by o 
master of the well- 
groomed drawing room. 



June 27 - June 30 

A farcical double-cross In 

19th century Moscow society. 


a new musical comedy 



premiere performance 

July 4 - July 7 

A parody of the American Western. 

Briar Patch Theatre Seoson Program from 1956 



July II • July 14 

A romping satire about the 

classic inane pretender. 



July 18- July 21 

A saucy comedy of errors 
at a smart French spa. 



July 25 - July 28 

A battle of the sexes waged 

by the master of the verbal 

sting, in a new production of 

this sparkling comedy. 

Sweet Briar's Summer 
Theatre 1955, 1956 

The Briar Patch Theatre 
flourished for two seasons in 
Fletcher Auditorium under 
the direction of Dr. Sidney L. 
Freeman, SBC"s assistant 
professor of English. A resi- 
dent company of actors and 
technicians drawn from alum- 
nae, students, and others from 
areas as distant as NYC and 
Texas was supplemented by 
local talent from Amherst and 
Lynchburg, and UVA. 

belt: the Dana challenge was 
met and a decision made to use 
the funds for renovation of the 
library. Contributions to the 
Alumnae Fund were again the 
largest in the history of the 
College and the SB News spon- 
sored a contest to see who could 
refrain from talking about men 
for a sustained period of time. 
The prize was dinner for two. 
No one entered the competition. 

Good taste and good judg- 
ment still reigned supreme, the 
new Post Office opened in 
January, and faculty were 
accused of reading notes from 
cards "yellowed with age."' 
Thank heaven 1 had not been 
there long enough for mildew to 
set in. In February College 
Council modified the apartment 
rule: second semester sopho- 
mores and above could enter a 
man's room with a third person 
present. Cheese Betty was the 
Refectory's most unpopular dish 
and a chain, dubbed 

"Checkpoint Charlotte," was 
placed across the road through 
campus causing a great surge of 
hard feelings. 

Former Dean Mary J. Pearl 
died in February, but few of us 
who knew her either as students 
or faculty will ever forget her 
"Hooding" was voted down by 
the senior class and Guion 
Science Building began sinking 
into the earth due to a construc- 
tion problem. The dedication 
ceremony was postponed until 
the College was sure that there 
was going to be something to 

In April 1966 it was 
announced that Sweet Briar was 
in danger of losing a $ 1 4,000 
federal HEW grant because of 
the admission restriction in the 
will. On Monday, April 25, 
1966, Sweet Briar College's 
request was granted for a tempo- 
rary restraining order effective 
until the case could be heard and 
determined by a three-judge 

federal court. The order in effect 
restrained the Attorney General 
of Virginia and the 
Commonwealth Attorney of 
Amherst County from enforcing 
the racial restrictions in Indiana 
Fletcher's will. Progress, here 
comes Sweet Briar! 

Graduation day in June 1966 
dawned sunny and hot. my first 
graduation as a full-fledged 
member of the faculty. I shall 
never forget it. The speaker was 

Bergen Evans: he spoke for an 
hour and a half in 95 degree 
heat. I feared briefly that it 
might be my last graduation as a 
member of the faculty. I sur- 
vived, however, and as I look 
back to '56 and '66 and the 
years after and in between. I can 
only say. "Yes, "Virginia. There is 
and shall continue to be. a col- 
lege of the highest caliber, 
named Sweet Briar." 

Byrd Stone '56 with her Nursery School students, 1 969. 

March 2001 • 


The Things That Matter: 
An Interview >vith Carol 
McMurtry Fowler '57 

Excerpted from "In the Sweet 
Briar Tradition. " Fall 1992 
issue of the Alumnae Magazine 

Sweet Briar taught me that 
responsibility without 
authority is meaningless. 

"Too often, people are put 
into jobs that entail a tremen- 
dous amount of responsibility, 
but they're not given the 
authority to do their jobs effec- 
tively. If something goes wrong, 
they don't feel they have the 
power to change the situation. 

"Somehow, during my first 
year at Sweet Briar. 1 learned 
that responsible people do have 
authority; that it comes from 
inside and you have to accept it. 

"At the same time, I learned 
that authority without responsi- 
bility is reckless. Authority and 
responsibility work hand-in- 
hand. One without the other is a 
hollow exercise. 

"In the 1950s, young women 
were surrounded by authority. 
There were things you were 
expected to do and not ask why. 
Sweet Briar was an exception. 
Here, you could raise questions. 
You were encouraged to ask 
questions — expected to ask 
questions. It was so refreshing. 

"I read Honors in American 
history, concentrating in 19th 
century Southern political histo- 
ry. By the time I graduated, 
after two years of Honors 

papers for Anne Gary Pannell, I 
knew how to research and to 
write with a fair amount of 
speed and a great deal of accu- 
racy. And really. I've been 
doing that ever since. 

"After Sweet Briar. I attend- 
ed the London Institute of 
Historical Research and the 
London School of Economics, 
but didn't get a degree. Instead. 
I returned home to Amarillo, 
Texas to gainful employment as 
the entertainment editor of the 
local paper. I lasted 15 months. 
I was fired for being a commu- 
nist because I wrote a negative 
review of the movie The Alamo. 
It was the heyday of the John 
Birch Society in Texas, so 1 
packed my bags and returned to 

"After several months. I 
returned to Texas to go back 
into the newspaper business in 
Austin, as a reporter, news ana- 
lyst, and city editor. I also got 
involved in various city, county, 
and state political campaigns as 
a coordinator and speech writer. 

"I've done a little bit of 
everything. I was a criminal 
investigator for the District 
Attorney's Office — the-white 
collar crime unit — which meant 
I had to go through the Austin 
Police Academy at the age of 
43. 1 worked for Ann Richards 
when she was Texas' treasurer. I 
even went to law school, but 
found it restrictive and confin- 

"Ann Richards was elected 

governor of Texas in 1990. 1 
have been her friend, bridge 
partner, political ally, and 
employee for almost 20 years. 

"Before Ann was elected. I 
had "retired" from working in 
town. My husband and I own 
and operate two riverboats that 
accommodate 50 to 500 people. 
I was running the boats, mixing 
drinks, and chopping tomatoes 
from April to November, and 
traveling extensively the rest of 
the time, going on several 
world cruises with my mother 
before she died in 1988. 

"My mother. Mary Polk 
McMurtry, was instrumental in 
my coming to Sweet Briar. She 
had hoped to enroll, but her 
family suftered what she 
referred to as 'financial rever- 

"She always told me — but 1 
had to accumulate some gray 
hair before I understood her — 
"Carol, never take yourself seri- 
ously, but always be serious 
about the things that matter to 

"My mother gave me the gift 
of laughter and Sweet Briar 
gave me the ability to think 
independently. These two things 
are the greatest treasures any- 
one can hope to have — and. as 
the saying goes, "Of those to 
whom much is given, much is 

"So. I quit chopping toma- 
toes and went back into town to 
be part of the New Texas. 
Insurance reform was a major 

a/^iliPu' ts- tlwnk/ Oruie/- 
h^fK/ 1^ (vw(/ — anal/, oA 

Texas Governor Ann Richards 
gets to know the students 

part of Governor Richards' plat- 
form, and she put me to work at 
the Texas Department of 

"There's a lot of change, 
excitement, and a real drive to 
cut through the red tape, to be 
accountable and responsive to 
the people of Texas. The gover- 
nor is surrounded by responsi- 
ble women — women who aren't 
going to leave to go line their 
pockets as lobbyists. When I 
leave Ann, I'd like to do some- 
thing 1 have pushed back for 
years — join the Peace Corps." 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Mme. Indira Nehru Gandhi Speaks 
on Indian Democracy 

Excerpted fivm the April 18. 1962 issue of the Sweet Briar 


Mme. Gandhi took the 
podium in Babcock to 
address "India's Planning — 
Working for Democracy" on 
April 18, 1962. Termed 
"India's First Lady" as the 
official hostess for her father, 
Indian Prime Minister 
Jawaharlal Nehru, she is her- 
self an influential participant 
in the pohtics of her country. 

"I have no recollection of 
games, children's parties or 
playing with other children," 
she said, in speaking of her 
family's struggle for Indian 
independence. "All my 
games were political 

Groundbreaking Ceremonies 
Meta Glass Dormitory, May 
17, 1961. Inset: the new dorm 

The Book Shop was under 
construction in 1961 

/$iAfut' I3*u/Vv ncMen' (zcweA 

cwmJv sfi/ fvMui/ ^■<9h(M - 


I h/w(/ cdwoA^'uXvMxKii, 

11^ t6^ t^^ACh IroM' with' 

Piec/ am/i ^ywn/ ithe/ru^, 
0itru^ f^ whaX' cam/ % 
0/ ^ojiH^Ai 'v»w\lv wshliii 

(Aom^ w(M' vanwC. ..! 
hojC t<?- 'M th(/ nw cMpd, 

y\jW theaPt^. . .b-i^thMi/ 
weM^jn^ t90CM^i/y to- walk' 

9*v itH»ll On/ Uu/ J)M. 

liiMnO/ y^\Alii(W^ '&0 

fall /9?+ MiMrmae/ 


March 2001 • 



/^(^^ l(9^Y\A/ i 

By Maiy Molyneux Abrams '86 

While some institutions resisted change, 
SBC spent a good part of the 1 960s in court, 
trying to admit African-American students. 


February 1 

Four black students from 
NC A&T sit-in at a 
Greensboro, NC lunch 

February 13 

Nashville, TN sit-ins begin 

March 1 

Nine Alabama State stu- 
dents expelled for "sitting 



April 15 

Student Nonviolent 
Coordinating Committee 
(SNCC) organized at Shaw 

October 19 

Martin Luther King arrested 
in Atlanta sit-in 

Fall Term 

SBC students attempt sit-in; 
Administration halts bus 
service to Lynchburg for two 

November 6 

Six Lynchburg businesses 
agree to open their lunch 

December 14 

"Patterson's Six" arrested in 

January 1 1 

Riots at the University of 
Georgia; 2 black students 
are suspended and then 
reinstated by federal court 

February 6 

"Jail In" movement starts in 
Rock Hill, SC 

Spring Term 

SBC students picket in 

May 4 

Freedom Riders head south 
from Washington, DC 


Cites Past. Record 
Of Randolph-Macon 

To the Edilor of The News: 

Sir: As a resident of .toherst 
County for over thirty-five years, 
I have been a Iteen and apprecia* 
ti\'e observer of the many out- 
standing contributions which Ran- 
dolph-Maeon Woman's College has 
madt to the cultural life of Lynch- 
burg. For the most part those con- 
tributions have resulted from the 
joint efforts of the college ad- 
ministration, the faculty, and Hie 
students— with the generous sup- 
port of the Board of Trustees. In 
some cases, notably the Greek 
plays, these activities have 

January 29 

Two African-American stu- 
dents begin integration of 
Lynchburg's E.C. Glass high 

September 30 

Federal troops protect the 
first black student to enter 
the University of Mississippi 


August 28 

The March on Washington; 
"I Hove a Dream" 

September 15 

Birmingham church bomb- 
ing kills 4 black teenage 


October 8 

SBC faculty submits resolu- 
tion for open admissions 

November 2 

SBC Board decides to take 
legal action, seeking reinter- 
pretation of the will 

November 22 

President Kennedy assassi- 
nated in Dallas 

brought national and international 

renown not only to the college, 
but also to the City of Lynchburg. 
Recently two Randolph-Macon 
students have behaved in such a 
way as to offend many citizens of 
Lynchburg. This is not surprising 
in view of the general unrest 
among students liiroughout the 
world. We of the older generation 
would do well to remember that 
we are in large measure respon- 
sible for the conditions and prob- 
lems causing this unrest— at least, 
we have not been able to prevent 

the disturbing conditions, nor have 
we found satisfactory solutions for 
those problems. May I suggest 
that while considering the action 
of these two students, we take 
care not to forget the hundreds 
of Randolph-Macon students who 
have honored Lynchburg by their 
residence here, and have honored 
themselves and their college by 
their high ideals of scholarship 
and citizenship. 

May I also take this occasion 
to pay tribute to the loyalty of 
the Randoli*-Macon administra- 

tion and faculty to the p 
Liberty, which is the es.«(kl 
of sound scholarship an(ki 
citizenship. In so far as !)' 
able to instill that spirit I 
students they have seij 
Stale well as educators M 
inspiring leaders. Wliatev f 
ment we may pass on tl[» 
actions of tlie two studecjlt 
referred to, we must ad 1 1 
they have behaved wittW 
and restraint, and have il" 
age of their coDiictions-fo 
sential characteristics 't 


Overflow crowd at Court Street Baptist church joins in 
hymn Sunday during mass meeting of National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 
v^hich proposals to boycott and picket segregated lunch 
counter facilities were heard. 

photos and text from the Lynchburg News, March 21,1 960 

I9&^ ISG^ IS&& l$G7 

June 22 

Three civil rights workers 
disappear in Mississippi 

July 2 

President Johnson signs the 
Civil Rights Act of 1 964 

August 17 

SBC files bill of complaint in 
Amherst Circuit Court 

September 5 

Attorney General of 
Virginia urges court to 
uphold SBC charter 

October 14 

King awarded Nobel Peace 

December 2 

Judge Quesenbery hears 
arguments in SBC case 

iiup in a democratic com- 


onclusion, it seems clear 
e past record of Randolph- 
Woman's College— its ad- 
ators, faculty, and students 
ies our confidence in their 
f, justice and courage. Let 
what we can to assure 
f our faith in their integrity, 
r trust in their ability to 
the present situation in a 
iSt is consistent with their 
iilling as educators and free 
• good will. 

Very sincerely yours. 
If Briar, Va. 




February 21 

Malcolm X assassinated in 
New York 

March 21 

March from Selma to 

June 3 

Judge Quesenbery rules 
against SBC 

June 1 1 

SBC signs to comply with 
Civil Rights Act of 1964 

July 9 

Amherst Commonwealth's 
Attorney requests dismissal 
of "frivolous" SBC case 

August 6 

"Burn, Baby, Burn" riots in 
Watts district of Los Angeles 

December 28 

Judge Quesenbury hears 
arguments and testimony on 
McClenny's motion to 
dismiss the SBC case 

April 6 

Judge Quesenbery denies 
motion for dismissal 

April 25 

SBC obtains temporary 
restraining order 

July 6 

Three-judge U.S. District 
Court hears SBC case 

July 12 

Riots break out in Chicago, 
six other cities follow 

July 16 

"Black Power" slogan is 
born in Greenwood, MS 

August 31 

SBC announces admission 
of Marshalyn Yeargin 

September 6 

Riots break out in Atlanta 

December 2 

Three-judge U.S. District 
Court abstains from making 
SBC decision 

January 4 

SBC appeals to U.S. 
Supreme Court 

May 29 

U.S. Supreme Court 
reverses U.S. District Court 

July 1 7 

Three-judge U.S. District 
Court favors SBC 

July 23 

Riots break out in Detroit; 
5,000 left homeless 

August 30 

Thurgood Marshall 
becomes first black U.S. 
Supreme Court justice 

Polly Wirtzman '63 is second 
from left vrith students from 
Virginia Theological Seminary, 
Lynchburg College, and R-MWC. 


Sweet Briar Students 
Oppose Discrimmation 

To tfae Editor (rf tiie News: 

Sir: As college students, we 
wish to support the efforts of 
southern Negroes who are striv- 
ing to ehminate racial discrimina- 
tion at lunch counters. We believe 
that stores which sell a variety 
of goods and provide a. public food 
service are morally obligated to 
serve all customers on an equal 
basis. The issue which the cur- 
rent demonstrations raise is simi- 
ply that, of justice and fair play 
for all citizens in a free society. 





Sweet Briar 



/itandOnA^ Lip 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

On February 1, 1960, four nicely 
dressed African- American students 
from North Carolina Agricultural 
and Technical College in Greensboro sat down 
at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter and 
politely placed an order. Though they were 
refused service due to the store's "no colored" 
policy, they remained in their seats until clos- 
ing. The following day, the same students 
returned to the lunch counter with 16 others. 
That's how "sit-ins" started. The movement 
quickly caught on, with the help of television 
coverage, prompting Virginia lawmakers to 
pass stricter anti-trespass laws — just in case. 



Lynchburg, 1963 

— Koliiii itto'.y rhbto 

DISCUSS MINORITY ISSUES— Discussing problems and challenges of 
members of racial or religious minorities in panel discussion of area college 
students at a meeting of Lynchburg Council on Human Relations Tuesday 
night were, left to right, Di-. Thomas Gilpatrick, moderator; Mark McCorvey, 
Virginia Seminary and College ; Terrell Brumback, Lynchburg College ; Lind 
Groseclose, Randolph-Macon Woman's College; Rev. Daniel Bowers, executive 
Council, and Andrea Denson, Sweet Briar College. 

For students willing to par- 
ticipate in the Civil Rights 
movement, sit-ins, "sit- 
and-runs," and picket lines pro- 
vided a direct and daring way to 
express their beliefs. By the fall 
of 1960, the novel, nonviolent 
tactic had spread to Lynchburg. 
The involvement of a handful of 
Sweet Briar students caught the 
administration by surprise. 
Parents were stunned. Even 
retired government professor 
Tom Gilpatrick admits, "The 
faculty was out of the loop. The 
students did it all on their own."" 
Forty years after the fact, it is 
difficult to reconstruct exactly 
what happened during the 1960- 

1961 academic year. Sara Lycett 
'61 remembers that four or five 
students attempted to sit-in at a 
drug store in Lynchburg in the 
fall of 1960. The phannacist 
called the College and Dean 
Pearl promptly dispatched a taxi 
to fetch the protesters. To pre- 
vent those students from staging 
a repeat performance, and as a 
warning to others, the adminis- 
tration cut off bus service 
between Lynchburg and the 
College for two weeks. 

Lynne Nalley Coates "61 
does not recall exactly what she 
did that semester to make her 
father so furious. But she does 
remember why she became 


In Lynne"s psychology class. 
Professor Phyllis Stevens had 
asked the question: Do you 
believe Negroes are bom inferi- 
or — intellectually and in other 
ways — to whites? Lynne had 
been brought up believing that 
was the case. "Then,"" she says, 
"as we started to research and 
discuss the issue, I realized I 
was dead wrong. It hit me like a 
ton of bricks. All the injustices 
and inequities — everything we 
had done — came crashing 
through. I thought. 'Tve got to 
do something about this." When 
the opportunity presented itself, 
1 went."' 

C-Me^ a/ruC T>tam/ feoAt 
torn/ W^iMv the/ pfi'stiAi'- 

th(/ ciii'nu/rUAi^U!Ui»ru OAi' 

March 2001 



Lunch Counters' 
Action Wins Praise 

To the Editor of The News: 

Sir: We wish to express our sup- 
port to Guggenheimer's, Kresge's, 
Woolworth's, and Peter's News 
Stand for the opening of their 
lunch counter facilities to all 
customers. We feel that this is a 
very significant step toward the 
realization of equality for all the 
citizens of the city. 

William S. Spencer, Nikki 
Griess, Rusty McHugh, Albert 
Rose, Alice Hilewick, Carol Han- 
cock, Celia Isabel Mendoza, 
James Hunter, Rebecca Owen, 
Lucille Ford, Molly Campbell, 
Barbara Thomas, Floyd Hamlett, 
Ann Gregg, Terrill Bruraback, 
John W. Williams, Sally Slate, 
Jane Meridith, Simone Reagor, 
Duval Merchant, Lynne Schradin, 
Barbara Ann Chilton, David 
Sannecky, Kathleen Scott, Nancy 
McDowell, Morton Hill, Susan 
Duiguid, Myra Parrish, Stevie 
Fontain, Mary Jane Minor, Doris 
Scott, Leslie Buchman, Frederick 
W. Hayes. Lois Eubanks, Joy 
Mitchell, Renee Regan, Betsy 
Dawson, Charles Rose Jr., Peg 
Pulis, Elizabeth Wood, Berry 
Dempsy, Penny Powell, Mande- 
line Thompson, Laura Thomas, 
Seabreeze Seaman, Mary Edith 
Bentley, Nancy Ward, Jerry Flesh- 
man, Carolyn Gabel, Lela Kuce- 
wicz, Nancy Wood, Roma Col- 
more Jr., Judy Evans, Sheila Has- 
kell, Christe McCoy, Fan Rhea 
Lucy, Amy Sawers, Anne Parker, 
William T. Haskins Jr., Angela 
Gibbs, Mary Hicks, Rose Hardin, 
Marie Thompson, Lyne NaDey, 
Martha Anne Sewell, Linda Black- 
wood, Lawrence E. Carter, Jane 
Yardley, Joanne Burgess, Meta 
Bond, Betty Dawson, Barbara 
Royal, Merry Pat Sloan, Betty Al- 
len, Ashley Schuler, William A. 
Dyson, Hazel Walling, Nancy 
Bourne, Suzanne Clark, Anne 
Leavell, Roberta Porcello, Anna 
Best Stuart, Kenny Green, Court- 
ney West, Julia Forte, Emanuel 
Reasor HI, Ann Hammond, E. D. 
Hensley, Betty Wells, Lloyd Jones, 
C. A. Crooker, Ann Vible, Vir- 
ginia Shuarer, George Flood, Mar- 
jorie Powers. 

Rachel "Rusty" McHugh 
Lilly "63 was concerned about 
Civil Rights during her high 
school years. When she arrived 
at Sweet Briar, she volunteered 
to teach at a local, all-black ele- 
mentary school. What she saw 
there motivated her to act. 

"It was a one-room school- 
house with a wood stove that 
housed grades one through six. 
There was one teacher; there 
were hardly any books. The 
white schools, on the other 
hand, had wonderful facilities. 
This was the situation several 
years after Brown vs. The Board 
of Education'' 

Rusty became involved with 
community groups interested in 
integrating the Lynchburg-area 
public schools, including E.C. 
Glass High School. She also 
helped to collect and deliver 
books to African-American chil- 
dren in nearby Prince Edward 
County. In 1959. Prince Edward 
County defied integration by 
shutting down its public school 
system. Whites, with the help of 
county and state grants, attended 
private schools. Blacks had to 
make do. sending their children 
to poody-funded "training cen- 
ters" manned by volunteers or 
sending them to live with rela- 
tives in other districts. (The pub- 
lic schools reopened in 1964.) 

Rust\ hopped on the bus to 
Lynchburg as often as she could, 
attending meetings at campuses 
and churches, and showing up at 
targeted sites to participate in 

demonstrations. One tactic 
called a sit-and-run allowed stu- 
dent protesters to make their 
point without triggering a tres- 
pass violation. 

"A sit-and-run." explains 
Rusty, "entailed going to a lunch 
counter with black friends, 
ordering, being asked to leave, 
and leasing. Usually, we decid- 
ed in advance as a group where 
and when we were going to 
stage a demonstration." 

On Wednesday. December 
14. I960, six students — two 
blacks and four whites — refused 
to leave the lunch counter at 
Patterson's Drug Store on Main 
Street in Lynchburg. The owner 
called the police. Two Virginia 
Theological Seminary students, 
two students from Lynchburg 
College, and two young women 
from Randolph-Macon Woman's 
College were arrested and jailed. 
Speaking for the "Patterson's 
Six". Terrill Brumback of 
Lynchburg College insisted that 
the protesters made the decision 
to sit-in without consulting a 
larger group of about 100 stu- 
dents — a group with no formal 
name — who had met. he said, 
"perhaps 20 times to discuss the 
racial question." 

At Sweet Briar, the day of 
the sit-in, December 14. was a 
"no cut" day. "Students were not 
allowed to cut classes the day 
before a vacation," explains 
Rusty. "I was already in trouble, 
finding notes on my door direct- 
ino me to see Dean Pearl or see 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Dean Jester every time I 
returned from town. Somehow 
they knew I wasn't going to 
Lynchburg to shop." 

Fran Oliver Palmer '62 
remembers attending a few four- 
college student meetings in a lit- 
tle room in downtown 
Lynchburg, possibly at the 
YWCA. One Saturday, she got 
on a bus and joined a picket line 
outside a drug store on Main 
Street — she thinks it was in the 
spring of 1961. It was an intimi- 
dating scene. The store owner 
had allegedly hired workers 
from a nearby construction site 
to act as anti-protesters during 
their lunch break. 

"The College sent a letter 
home to parents," remembers 
Fran, "saying that men with 
hammers and chisels in their 
pockets had threatened the stu- 
dents. This made it sound much 
more dangerous than it really 
was. The men were just work- 
men wearing tool belts standing 
on the street in broad daylight 
with lots of other people around. 
It was uncomfortable — the men 
were shouting things — but I 
never felt that I was in any real 
danger. In fact, my father wrote 
a letter back to President 
Pannell. letting her know that he 
trusted my judgment." Fran was 
lucky. Other parents were not as 

Fran's roommate, Laura 
Connerat Lawton '62, was on 
the same picket line, wearing the 
skirt, hose, and heels the College 

required students to don on trips 
into town. She was carrying a 
sign that read "The Presence Of 
Segregation Is The Absence of 
Democracy." The crowd was 
rowdier than she had expected. 
Some men spit. One called out, 
asking her if she was going to 
marry a Nigger 

While she was picketing, 
Laura saw the brother of a class- 
mate pass through the crowd. He 
spotted Laura too, but moved on 
without speaking to her. That 
evening, he called her for a date. 
"I was a little suspicious," says 
Laura, "but I went anyway." 

The young man drove Laura 
to his parent's home where six 
or eight adults were waiting to 
question her. "I sat in the living 
room and answered their ques- 
tions," remembers Laura. "They 
wanted to know if I realized that 
I was being duped by commu- 
nists, that it was a plot. I told 
them I didn't think so, that inte- 
gration was important to me and 
I thought I was doing the right 
thing. They asked about my 
family and background. I told 
them everything about me. I 
explained that I was a physics 
major from Savannah. Still, they 
had a hard time believing that I 
hadn't been paid to protest." 

The real culprits, the people 
who had inspired Laura to join 
the picket lines were nationally- 
renowned ministers who, in the 
days before the chapel was built 
and a chaplain in place, were 
invited to speak to the Sweet 

Briar community on Sundays. 
Laura was in the choir and heard 
every one, including the Yale 
University chaplain. Reverend 
William Sloane Coffin, Jr. 
Visitors like Coffin were 
involved in the Civil Rights 
movement and Laura listened 
intently to their sermons. "They 
were," she says, "out in the 
world and in touch with the 
social struggles of the times." 

Looking back, Laura has no 
regrets regarding her activities. 
"It made a lot of people mad at 
me, which nobody likes or 
wants," she says. "But it was 
then that I realized just how 
important it is to stand up — and 
to do so knowing that your true 
friends will always be there. If I 
had not done it that very first 
time, my life might have been 
completely different. I might 
never have discovered that I had 
it in me." 

lAfaA-O/plst. / toliUiMn' 

March 2001 




IruUamA/ JteMu^ WMia/rM^ 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

In April 1968, J. Wilson Newman decid- 
ed it was time to step down and "let the 
healing process begin." He had accom- 
plished what he had set out to do. The 
College — with a little help from the U.S. 
Supreme Court — had legally and permanently 
lifted its racial ban. Sweet Briar's first African- 
American student was about to graduate Phi 
Beta Kappa with a major in biology. Those who 
felt compelled to withdraw their support had 
done so years before. The remaining communi- 
ty was stronger than ever. The campus was 
quiet. It was a good time for Newman to retire. 

Iruiicma/ ixA/ ^'(M(MM\m'>v pj^Vi^b/ t(s^ tnoJkjf/ hefi' wiil 

For six years, from 1963 to 
1968. Newman served as 
chairman of the Board of 
Directors and the Board of 
Overseers. His tenure spanned 
"the case." that is. the legal 
action taken by the College to 
reinterpret the will of its 
founder. Indiana Fletcher 

Indiana signed her will in 
New York on April 22. 1 899. 
According to Sweet Briar histo- 
rian Ann Marshall Whitley "47. 
Indiana did "everything possible 
to make her will attack-proof." 
She knew her brother Lucian's 
illegitimate children would fight 
to grab her fortune. She also 
anticipated that the County of 
Amherst would vigorously 
protest exempting thousands of 
acres from taxation. 

Two distinguished estate 
lawyers crafted the document. 
Indiana's primary legal advisor 
in New York, Mr. Eugene Smith, 
sent a draft to Mr. Robert Stiles 
in Richmond. Stiles made some 
changes, making certain that the 
will conformed to Virginia state 

No one knows where or 
when the phrase "for the educa- 
tion of white girls and young 
women" was written into the 
will. And we can only guess 
what Miss Indie thought of it — 
if she thought of it at all. But 
one thing is certain: to be valid 
in Virginia, her educational char- 
itable trust had to include a 
racially restrictive clause. 

Integration was not an option. 

"After the Civil War." 
explains Newman, "all states 
were required to bring their 
statutes in conformance with the 
Fourteenth Amendment of the 
U. S. Constitution, guaranteeing 
every citizen equal protection 
under the law. In the process. 
Virginia passed a law stating that 
educational trusts for non-whites 
were legal, as educational trusts 
for whites had been. 

"As a result," continues 
Newman, "the lawyer drawing 
up Mrs. Williams" will creating 
the trust for Sweet Briar had a 
clear choice of specifying a trust 
for whites or a trust for non- 
whites. At the time, it was not 
possible to establish an educa- 
tional trust for both." The lawyer 
conformed with the Virginia 
statute to insulate the will from 
attack, "making sure that the 
opposition would not succeed in 
blocking Mrs. Williams' plans 
for a school in memory of her 
daughter Daisy." 

This new insight into the 
wording of the will — under- 
standing that the phrase "white 
girls and young women" satis- 
fied state laws in effect in 1 899 
and still in force in the 1960s — 
emerged as Sweet Briar's attor- 
neys prepared to seek a judicial 
interpretation of the founder's 

In her wisdom, and in what 
were indisputably her own 
words. Miss Indie had instructed 
Sweet Briar's trustees to use 

aMax:k'-pHJ^^'." ^hi/ k/nw he^ Ifisthe^ UMXcm^ MmUO- 

. . .they tawY^ <^Mwim^ i^ Pl*vi: MJiUiam^ wWb 

n9^-whiU&. (AP the/ ti/me/, iP wc\A n^ pn^^fc t&- 

their best judgment in executing 
her wishes. Her will plainly 
states that "The general scope 
and object of the school shall be 
to impart to its saidents such 
education and sound learning, 
and such physical, moral and 
religious training as shall, in the 
judgment of the directors, best 
fit them to be useful members of 
society." By 1963, segregation 
was impeding the College's abil- 
ity to meet Indiana's primary 
objectives. The board agreed to 
take legal action. 

Newman contacted Frank G. 
Davidson. Jr.. a Lynchburg tax 
and estate attorney with a ster- 
ling statewide reputation. The 

two met to discuss the matter 
over lunch. 

"When I approached Frank 
on the grounds that he undertake 
the litigation," recalls Newman, 
"he acted like there was a foul 
odor in the room. He said. 'I'll 
look into it, Wilson. But I won't 
charge Sweet Briar a penny.' 

"We subsequently involved a 
constitutional consultant. 
Thomas S. Currier, who discov- 
ered why the will was drawn for 
white girls only. When the 
College later received his bill for 
$25,000. 1 authorized payment 
and asked the treasurer. Peter 
Daniel, to send a check for the 
same amount to Frank Davidson 

March 2001 • 


By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

After the successful conclusion of the Sweet Briar case, the Newman and Dovidson families continued 
their friendship. In this 1983 photo, Frank Davidson, Clara Newman, Cissy Davidson, and Wilson 
Newman reunite for a Baltic cruise. (Frank Davidson died in 1991.) 

Lynchburg attorney Frank G. Davidson, Jr. spent five years 
on the Sweet Briar case and refused to accept a penny in 
return. His wife, Catherine "Cissy" Graves Davidson, 
explains that it was a contribution to the College — and also 
illustrative of the way Davidson conducted business. 

"If Frank liked the people and the principle," says Cissy, "he 
hod a hard time charging. He loved what he was doing so 

Sweet Briar Board Chairman J. Wilson Newman could hove 
searched the world and not found a better man for the job. 
The two men developed an instant rapport. Davidson 
entered the University of Virginia at the age of 15 and went 
straight through U. VA Low School, receiving his J.D. in 
1930. Newman was a lawyer, too, and both of his grand- 
fathers were U. VA graduates, in their youth, at the begin- 
ning of the Great Depression, both men headed to New 
York City, where Newman remained and Davidson quickly 
discovered his preference for small-town life. Both had mar- 
ried exceptionally bright and talented women who were 
born and raised in Mississippi and Tennessee. The two cou- 
ples had children the same age. 

Davidson was familiar with the College. Mr. S.V. Kemp, a 
retired senior member of his firm, had handled SBC busi- 
ness for years. 

Davidson was also well prepared for the personal and 
social consequences of the case. Cissy, a graduate of 
Randolph-Macon Woman's College, was serving on the 
R-MWC board and working with the Lynchburg school 

board during the struggle over Civil Rights at those institu- 
tions. Describing the letters and phone calls she received 
back then. Cissy recalls that "Nobody was really ugly, but 
they were the next thing to it. There was a policy of 'mas- 
sive resistance' in Virginia and we had to work hard to pre- 
vent anything critical from happening." 

Cissy notes that Frank hod already successfully handled the 
reinterpretotion of a will based on changing conditions and 
customs when Newman approached him on the Sweet Briar 
cose in 1963. But that experience amounted to a mere start- 
ing point in the effort to lift the College's racial ban. 

"Anne Pannell had great courage and was very far-sighted," 
soys Cissy. "Both Frank and Wilson admired her. She was 
enthusiastic, intelligent and organized, and the three of 
them worked well together. They shared a common pur- 
pose, a vision of what needed to be done. Though I don't 
think they anticipated it would take so long." 

On December 28, 1 965, Cissy sat in a packed, tense 
Amherst County courtroom, where eight SBC officials were 
assembled to refute Commonwealth's Attorney McClenny's 
allegations that the case was "frivolous" and that the 
College had "not come to court with clean hands or good 

Before the hearing. Cissy remembers that "Frank told Mrs. 
Pannell to talk as fast as she could to get as much on the 
record as possible, which she did. In fact, when she finished 
talking. Judge Quesenbury remarked, 'My, that was a long 
answer, wasn't it?'" Cissy also laughs and confides that 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

"Frank advised Wilson not to say anything that would irri 
fate the judge!" 

The following day, a Lynchburg News account of the pro- 
ceedings indicated that all of Sweet Briar's representatives 
performed well on the stand. The reporter described 
Pannell as a "dynamic executive" seeking to "safeguard 
the rights" of her students. Under McClenny's questioning, 
Newman conceded that SBC "could continue on a segre- 
gated basis, but it would not be regarded as one of the 
leading colleges for women in the United States." Both 
William Pettyjohn, vice chairman of the Board of 
Directors, and Gorham B. Walker, member of the Board 
of Overseers, asserted that a great deal of "soul search- 
ing" preceded their decisions and that no action was 
taken on "the spur of the moment." 


nutC ^etCeMl ^muCi' OAuC the/ iy^oMr wM'j^ ftmru^ t«>- 
"kte^ up wiXh th£/ Jsne/ie/i-." 

Cissy explains that, for men like her husband and Wilson 
Newman, desegregation was a legal issue. While reform- 
ers like President Pannell expressed Sweet Briar's plight in 
broad terms, Davidson and Newman honed in on the 
legal implications and challenges. The two men felt good 
about what they were doing. But they also knew it was 
going to be difficult. And they let Anne Pannell know 
what to expect. 

In 1 968, Sweet Briar commissioned a portrait of Frank G. 
Davidson, Jr., which hangs over the couch in Cissy's den. 
Glancing over at it, she remembers one more odd fact 
about the suit. "Judge Quesenbury never officially closed 
the case. Even after it went to the higher courts where 
they ruled against him, he simply was not going to sign 
off. He went to his grave without doing it. Frank and 
Wilson used to bring it up once in a while, not with any 
resentment, just amusement." 

as a partial payment. True to his 
word, Frank returned ttie 

From tlieir fost luncti for- 
ward, Frank Davidson's disarm- 
ing humor and enduring friend- 
ship would help Newman with- 
stand the ruin of other relation- 
ships, including the loss of one 
of his closest childhood friends. 
As the case dragged on. the 
College lost several board mem- 
bers; some quietly walked away, 
while others left the board pub- 
licly expressing their fear and 

In her 1976 Alumnae 
Magazine memoir of the period, 
the late Professor Byrd Stone 
"56 described the case as "a har- 
rowing battle for the Board and 
for President Pannell. which 
included voluminous and often 
threatening mail to various 
board members and references 
in Amherst County to Mrs. 
Pannell as 'that disgraceful 
northern lady." " It did not seem 
to matter that President Pannell 
was a native of North Carolina 
or that she was the widow of Dr. 
Henry Clifton Pannell, the 
Alabama State Superintendent 
of Education. Her desire for an 
open admissions policy made 
her an outsider. 

Retired Vice President and 
Treasurer Peter V. Daniel 
remembers the 1963-1967 peri- 
od as being "horrendous, just 

"Sweet Briar quite properly 
set out to make changes to com- 

^[/mh^i^ OwMnM^ te- 7»f«t^. 
f(MvnM OA 'Uiot^ tii/i'- 

(t^ uUd noi"imTv to- matted 

thaP ptmdemX' panndl 

waA 0/ ncdwi/ ®^ y[(9>Mv 

OctMlim/i'. . . 

ply with the Civil Rights Act," 
says Daniel. "But the animosity 
that was created in response was 
hard to take. 

"President Pannell and I were 
very involved in local civic 
organizations. Everywhere we 
went, we were pigeonholed by 
people-some of whom were my 
iriends-telling us we had no 
business doing what we were 
doing. An editorial in the 
Lynchburg paper headlined A 
Matter of Honor called for the 
resignation of all the College's 
senior officers and board of 
trustees. And even after the case 
was settled, the paper printed 
another editorial titled Still A 
Matter of Honor."' 

Newman admired President 
Anne Gary Pannell. "She was," 
he says, "much more of a 
reformer than I was. In view of 
the change in the law, I saw no 
way out. The U. S. Supreme 
Court agreed with me." 

Retired Professor Thomas V. 
Gilpatrick recalls sitting in the 
president's office, hstening to 
Newman eloquently arguing in 
favor of desegregation. "Four 
members of the faculty-myself, 

March 2001 • 


tmv; "/f W/i- wilt 14- t<s- 6-e/ 

lATshiO 'whjiM/ lAfhM/ ru^t 

ti»nal On6titvfU(yn/?" 

Dick Rowland, and two 
others-listened and backed 
Newman up," says Gilpatrick. 
"It must have been 1963, about 
the same time the faculty signed 
a nearly-unanimous resolution 
calling for an open admissions 
policy. Only one professor 
refused to sign it. 

"Other colleges were more 
progressive," continues 
Gilpatrick. "But, then again, 
other colleges didn't have to 
overcome the obstacles we did." 

Newman was used to over- 
coming obstacles. Shortly after 
receiving a B.S. degree from his 
hometown college, Clemson, in 
1 93 1 , he headed to New York 
City. There, in the early years of 
the Great Depression, he man- 
aged to secure a position as a 
credit reporter for R. G. Dun & 
Company-a firm that would 
soon merge with the Bradstreet 
Company. He also began work- 
ing toward a law degree in night 
classes at New York University, 
an effort that would take him six 
long years to complete. 

When he married Clara Cox 

Connelly Collier of Mississippi 
in 1934, his prospects were 
uncertain at best. As the depres- 
sion worsened, he and his 
coworkers were forced to take a 
pay cut. His wife, who had 
attended the Nashville 
Conservatory of Music and 
Ward Belmont School, was 
making more money as a man- 
ager of the drapery department 
at Macy's. The situation 
strengthened Newman's stub- 
bom streak. He resolved he was 
not going to be "an also-ran in 
the family partnership." 

Newman rose rapidly 
through the ranks of the credit 
information business. By 1952, 
at the age of 43, he was presi- 
dent and CEO of Dun & 
Bradstreet. Eight years later, he 
was further elevated to chainnan 
and CEO. The father of two 
girls and two boys in that order, 
he proudly sent Ginger Newman 
Blanchard "60 and Bee Newman 
Thayer '61 to Sweet Briar 

The Newman family had 
strong ties to Amherst County. 

Newman's mother, Grace 
Strode, was bom at Kenmore, a 
property not fai" from the Sweet 
Briar campus. She grew up in 
South Carolina, where her father 
served as the first president of 
Clemson College (now Clemson 
University). Grace attended 
Converse College but withdrew 
after six months to free up finan- 
cial resources for her brother's 
education. That brother, Aubrey 
E. Strode, became a well-known 
Lynchburg-area legislator and 

Wilson and Clara Newman 
visited Kenmore frequently 
when their children were grow- 
ing up and purchased it from the 
Strode side of the family in 
1959. By then, both daughters. 
Ginger and Bee, were enrolled 
at Sweet Briar. Wilson joined 
the President's Parents Council 
in 1957. 

Newman was not an outsider. 
But he did have a unique per- 
spective. Dun & Bradstreet, he 
explains, "prided itself on objec- 
tivity." The practice of law also 
required it. 





s; /^i'Sr 

Sweet Briar Can't Mix, Says Quesenbi 

News County Editor 

AMUERST—Sweet Briar Col- 
lege's legal action to open its 
doors to Negro students is denied 
by Judge C. G, Quesenbery in 
an ppujioa filed Friday in Am- 
herst County Circuit Court 
which sustains a demurrer lo 
the suit. 

The fashionable and expensive 
Amherst County girls' school 
brought suit last August to 
amend the will of the founder, 
Mrs. Indiana Fletcher Williams, 
so as to admit Negroes by re- 

Frank G. Davidson Jr, of 
Lynchburg, attorney for the col- 
lege, said he had not yet read 

ihc inrflTA*< Hpf»ii:inn inH fha* ant/ 

1 he had not yet read 
the judge's decision and that any 
further steps the college might 
talcc— if any— would be ■' — — 
mined later. 

.d later' 

Judge Ques 

deals with qi 

the demurrer 

suit In his 0. 

the three point, , 

pJpadinE by fin^; 
(11 That nocrt 
12) That the vl 

liams "is not ^. 

therefore needs it 

and religious training as shall 
in ihc ■...-'— -' -' -i— > ■ - 

[omey lor me col- seeking authority to accept mg was brought as a result of in ihc 1..-1— pt 

had not yet read "all qualified applicants for a resolution pag&E/U"' "— " h 

lision and that any admission, regardless of _Bri»— '^*~" ^ ■ 

the college might race, creed or coin" "- ^i" " /o/ JT "V^ '^ .MA'tt^'Cil 

P 'B wilts' Comptoiice 

'Over wg"^ _ .,„.,,«iris?^ 

nt of the directors. 

-?ful mem- 

__ _ perpetual 

:hcr ^ ■' 

loful mem- 
as a perpetual 
her deceased 
|)ints out thnt 
n create this 
ividing that 
$l;ile be us- 
"^ carry on 
iry for the 
- girls and 

b)c of Sweet 
Hit was filed 

oecause the college was set up 
as a charitable trust. 

McClenny was named as legal 
officer of the county in which 
Sweet Briar is situated, on 3,- 
000 acres of rolling countryside 
12 miles nnrth of LvTichburg, 
with a student body of some 700. 

BUTTON filed an answer Sept. 
S. 1964. on behalf of the state 
in which he contended the 
founder's will "is cnnclu.slve 
and binding" in that it directs 
establishment of a school for 
the education of "while giils 
and young women." 

and s 

eh an IS 

It in 

t.hat c 
ed. g- 


tol> I 


Q.\AUtrJ^\/My aP^{AM/ th(/^wuP J^'UAfv h&oMh- e^^«^ ^ 
the/ "h/i^^tiMo/ sf U]^ tOmi/i'," ^ mp/ve/mAoTi' ff^ t% C/ivil 
fiu^hU' 7ru»veAnmi/. Hi/ cd/^ waMwi thaP i^/iawkm- 

p»M' — lAfmdiO {fl/ thjl/ neM' t<9- iK^. 

If anyone was prepared to 
deal with the "ruckus" about to 
ensue, it was Newman. 
However, even he admits having 
no idea it would take so long or 
become so personal. For five 
years, from 1963 to 1967, he 
would find himself shouting 
more than once, regarding the 
demands of both sides; "Tell 
them to keep their shirts on!" 

The case was launched with 
the best of intentions. There was 
a consensus that the College was 
willing to implement an open 
admissions policy, provided the 
founder's will could be inter- 
preted to permit it. 
Circumstances and conditions 

had certainly changed in the 60 
years since Sweet Briar was 
founded. The College wished to 
amend its charter to eliminate 
the word "white." 

On August 17. 1964, Sweet 
Briar's counsel filed a bill of 
complaint in the Amherst 
County Circuit Court. Because 
the College was chartered as an 
educational charitable trust in 
the Commonwealth of Virginia, 
the respondents named in the 
bill were Robert Y. Button, 
Attorney General for Virginia, 
and William M. McClenny, 
Commonwealth's Attorney for 
Amherst County. 

The response was swift. On 

Septembers, 1964, Attorney 
General Button stated that the 
will was plain, unambiguous, 
conclusive, and binding. A 
month later. Commonwealth's 
Attorney McClenny filed a dem- 
murer or legal response, con- 
tending that Sweet Briar failed 
to set forth "changes in circum- 
stances, conditions, customs, 
and laws" affecting it which 
would merit changing its charter. 

A few days before Christmas, 
the Honorable C. G. Quesenbury 
heard oral arguments on the 
demurrer Briefs were filed, and 
he took the case under advise- 

McClenny's brief opposed 

the suit, asking the question: "If 
this will is to be mutilated by 
deleting the word 'white' why 
not take out the word female and 
make it a coeducational institu- 

"Is it not just as right or 
proper to change the sex as it is 
to change or pervert race? It is 
even possible when we speak of 
change, to change the entire pur- 
pose of this testamentary trust 
and make it not for people but 
for animals, dogs, horses, cats, 
or any other purpose imagina- 

The January 3, 1965 edition 
of the Lynchburg News summa- 
rized McClenny's argument. 

^weef Briar's Motion 
VorNew Trial Dented 

by sweet Briar ^jijutiction 

\Z^ trial ^^^ or;;.^^ ,^, rf 

. „f fact «nd conclusions o£, 
ings o£ taci ^gcision o£ a, 

y^ ^^'^^P Federal court to ab-> 
' three-judge Feder ■^^^ 

stain from rutof \ founder' s 
% restrictions g the ^^^^g, 

iv,iU w^!,'^'".,?^na Negro women, 
irom adm'tling N«g^t„ed by 

'^*-.° ludle Albert V. 
Circuit J"*8e j^age 

Bryan af„ichie, with Bis- 
Thomas J. W"" ^ Butxner 

trict 3««g«.^f " " 
Jr. dissenting. 

.nf these! After this decision was W^ 

.chance to resolve ^^^^^j^^g^^at tne ^^.^ 

' aation controversy "j^^ , ..proposes to appeai ^^ 

i federal review « so^g Michi^.^Jv/abstention order .^^.^^^ 

•'^^f 'the majority opmio^U^, supreme Court o^^ j„, 

^^",'^udee ButUr dissenj^ gtates. and it ^^fj 3^ jsed 

,.hae Judge >#, * V'a^ts' ^'^<=*^^'"^"'" ^"' 

In its ruling «» ^^f eourt 

n r^d*'thf mo«o» A. *„ 
i tT\^^ ^ecause^^^BO 

OjYvUr with tht' Oml p.i^hU' 
^9^13&^. I3v^he/ 

iieo/ am4/ i<U(C he^ iAf»idti 

whop f'umk' J)Mn4/i<yn/ 

C/rumA' tfw tie/ruat »^ 0/ 


— J. WiU^^yi/lwrruMi' 

saying "Sweet Briar can become 
an educational center for ani- 
mals.. .if tlie will of the founder 
can be changed to admit 

Five months later, on June 3. 
1965, Judge Quesenbury ren- 
dered his opinion. He said there 
was no controversy. The will 
was not ambiguous and needed 
no further interpretation. The 
application of tv pres (executing 
the founder's intentions as near- 
ly as possible when it would be 
impossible or illegal to do so lit- 
erally) would not be proper 
After all, the College had been 
operating successfully for 60 
years. Cy pres would "destroy 
the entire purpose of the will." 

Quesenbury attributed the 
Sweet Briar board's effort to the 
"hysteria of the times," his 
euphemism for the Civil Rights 
movement. He also warned that 
religious training — another of 
Mrs. Williams' primary purpos- 
es — would be the next to go. 
Taking a swipe at the U. S. 
Supreme Court, he said that an 
interpretation which would bring 
Sweet Briar College "under the 
Fourteenth Amendment [cov er- 
ing equal rights] would certainly 
place it in a position where reli- 
gious training would be contrary 
to the Constitution, as currently 
misinterpreted by the Court in 

I^ss than two weeks after 
receiving Quesenbury's deci- 
sion, the board held a special 
meeting in which the majority 

elected to continue to push on 
through the courts. In addition, 
in an effort to maintain federal 
aid including student loans. J. 
Wilson Newman and President 
Pannell filed the Department of 
Health, Education, and Welfare's 
Fonn -141, complying with rele- 
vant sections of the Civil Rights 
Act of 1964. Though all docu- 
ments relating to the litigation 
were attached to the form, evi- 
dence of the College's attempt to 
comply was not good enough. 
SBC was cut off from all federal 

At this point, the first board 
member resigned in protest after 
24 years on the board, feeling 
that the board's action violated 
the founder's trust and flouted 
the court's decision. This mem- 
ber did not believe that the 
College needed federal aid to 
survive, and was deeply con- 
cerned that religious teaching 
could be outlawed at the same 
time the new Sweet Briar 
Chapel was about to be complet- 
ed: "Will textbooks then be 
required to be rewritten in order 
to indoctrinate students with par- 
ticular social, economic, or 
political philosophies?" 

A second member, who left 
the board prior to the civil rights 
compliance debate, made it 
known that he too opposed the 
move. A third, who had been out 
of town when the meeting took 
place, told reporters, "I may take 
some action." 

Exactly what action was 

taken against the board and 
administration is not clear. And 
Newman, 35 years later at the 
age of 9 1 , has no desire to 
malign anyone now. Perhaps it 
is enough to say that by 
September 1965, another man 
who had worked hard for many 
years on the College's behalf, 
was no longer on the board. 
(Newman remembers that the 
College lost five board members 
to the hostilities over integra- 

Meanwhile, Common- 
wealth's Attorney McClenny 
was heading back to state circuit 
court. On July 9, 1965, he 
requested an immediate dis- 
missal of the Sweet Briar suit on 
grounds that the College "did 
not come into court with clean 
hands or good faith." 

Arguments on McClenny's 
motion for dismissal were heard 
six months later on December 
28, 1965, with eight SBC offi- 
cials testifying on the College's 
behalf. This time, the College 
waited three months for Judge 
Quesenbury's decision. On 
April 6, 1966, he wrote that he 
saw no good purpose in granting 
McClenny's request, although it 
was "obvious that no one was 
seriously seeking an interpreta- 
tion of the plain language of the 

Since Sweet Briar's admis- 
sions policy had not changed, 
Quesenbury did not hold the 
directors in contempt. He did 
take time, however, to issue an 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

MJv hM/ ^MemM' wfvf cwme/ pu^^nv ^Aj^u/u^- 

^^ue^ft^sm^ tMji/ pict^ that' the/t^ w(M' aX'^wuP t^'uafv. 
It waA dkah' thjOp t% *uwiaL if am/ appUM' »nlA^ t^ 
pei»fd& »p o^ls^v pi»^ Uu/ U.ruM'/itaXi/i: ^s^methiru^ 
woA pfu»^owrujU/U' th(/ TnattiA^ with 0/ oM(A(/ thaP 


admonition on the subject of 
federal assistance. Mrs. 
Williams, he said, "did not want 
the monument to her daughter to 
be supported by going to the 
capitol in Washington with cup 
in hand to support the institu- 
tion." The whole idea, he 
thought, "would have been 
repugnant to her." The board 
and administration were substi- 
tuting "money for integrity." 

"Quesenbui^." explains 
Newman, "told us he wasn't 
going to cite us for contempt of 
court for signing in compliance 
with the Civil Rights Act of 
1964. But he thought it wasn't a 
bad idea and said he would keep 
the case under advisement. It 
was a fatal mistake because this 
is what Frank Davidson seized 
on to get the case before the 
United States Supreme Court. 
Quesenbury. by threatening the 
denial of a constitutional right. 

|/v.n<-/i6-''/ 'VewJ - At^. S/./^id 

created a constitutional issue." 
The case did not go directly 
from Amherst to Washington, 
D.C. After Quesenbury's ruling, 
on April 25, 1966, the College 
filed its complaint in the U.S. 
District Court for the Western 
District of Virginia. On the same 
day. Judge Thomas J. Michie 
issued a temporary restraining 
order preventing Button and 
McClenny from enforcing the 
racial restriction in the will. 

Having "cast his cards with 
the law," Newman was deter- 
mined to see the process 
through. In consultation with the 
board and President Pannell, he 
decided it was time to admit a 
qualified African-American stu- 
dent. Though the details are 
sketchy, his request seems to 
have prompted a change in 
admissions personnel. 

Sweet Briar had never admit- 
ted an African-American and 

'BC Admits First Negm 

Bj BETTT HEBLEY Idas completed two years at j open admission poUcy. under I 

Ecnnctt CoTitge In Greensboro, protection of a Federal (empo- 

JV#ir< Stm wni*r jff c -^ l^jjy reslralninjr order pendin^j 

The QrK Negro student to be 

admilted to Sweet Briar CoUegeJBriflr CoUege Tuesday nighlj 

bis been accepted for enroll- said. 

meol in the junior class for the .,- 
, IK&e; academic year. 
: Stie Is Harsbalyn Yeargln 

Creenvlllfl, s. C. vtd plans 
\ major In blologl eal «deoce, 4& 

Mra. iDdJana ' 

: nilUami. ' 

"llllams provided la, 

ft 5weal Briar Col-' 

ttralcd for "B-tilt«l 

^g women ■■ ; 

.Judge panel was 

lunsQt F. Hijms ' 

KniB. S.C.cblell 

Wnth V. S. Dls ; 

P^ Appeals. U is 

'iS. Clrciilt Judge ; 

■ of nicbmood 

•Richni'.ind nnd ■ 
'b of Charlollt,- 






ooW" ' 







,m4 ' 

, ■bt«a'' 


_.. .1. 

none had ever applied. But the 
College had been accepting non- 
white students every year since 
1940, primarily Asian Indians 
and Orientals. Such glaring 
inconsistencies were not lost on 
young women like Pryor Hale 
'65. "We had students who came 
from Africa — places like 
Nigeria — via Great Britain," she 
remembers. "They had the most 
exquisite accents. And no one 
questioned the fact that they 
were at Sweet Briar. It was clear 
that the racial ban applied only 
to people of color from the 
United States. Something was 
profoundly the matter with a 
college that would not accept 
African Americans." 

On July 6, 1966. a special 
three-judge United States Court 
sitting in nearby Chariottesville, 
heard arguments for and against 
making SBC's temporary 
restraining order permanent. 
Several weeks later, at the end 
of the summer, the College 
announced the acceptance of its 
first Negro student. 

Marshalyn "Penny" Yeargin 
'68, a transfer student from 
Greenville, South Carolina, 
arrived on campus in 
September 1966. Her presence, 
reported the Washington Post. 
made Sweet Briar "the last 
girl's college in the South to 
lower its racial barriers." It 
was optimistic of the Post to 
declare a last-place finish 
while the suit was still unde- 
cided in federal court. 

y^aMhahyn/ "fimmAy" 

^»vXh Ca)vsUmaji aNwvL 

I3&Q.. HiH- phmmcf/, 
itp/9HU^th(/ WaMiunMs^ 

"Uuy bMt fni)i^ CeUif/ im/ 

Haxxal iraftfvUM'." It waA^ 
sfUm/itio e^ the/ fs^ ts- 
iUdaHe/ a/ (oM'-place/ 
f)Vr\j(Mi whit/ the/ wP woAr 
iiM vwuiwUtsi On/ ^ieUMl 



heoM the/ iMsfuU- "iyHmM/ the/ 
lA/M." IneUajno/ JleMve^ 
WMiam^ te/jiaXA^, aJf^ 
alt, {4"itMveM^ wmJv 
yrUa/CX'. HvpM/fr^Mt^^M^ 
"nmitenfhei' the/ wilt." 

Near the end of Marshalyn's 
first semester, on December 2, 
1966. the special three-judge 
federal court designated to try 
the case in Charlottesville decid- 
ed to abstain. In a two-to-one 
decision written by Circuit 
Judge Albert V. Bryan of 
Richmond, Sweet Briar was told 
to exhaust the remedies avail- 
able through the state courts of 
Virginia. District Judge Thomas 
J. Michie of Charlottesville con- 
curred with Judge Bryan. 
District Judge John D. Butzner 
of Richmond dissented. 

In his dissent, Judge Butzner 
argued that the College was enti- 
tled to relief on all grounds. His 
opinion stated that "threat of 
state control over adnrission 
policies" in violation of federal 
law "was real and imminent." 
The federal questions raised in 
the litigation were independent 
and could be "decided without 
resolution of state issues." 

After the holidays, on 
January 4. 1967, Sweet Briar 
filed a notice of appeal from the 
U, S. District Court decision 
with the Supreme Court of the 
United States. 

Marshalyn completed her 
first two semesters and was 
home for the summer when, on 
May 29, 1967, the U.S. Supreme 
Court reversed the judgment of 
the U.S. District Court and 
ordered the case "remanded for 
consideration on its merits." In 
other words. Judges Bryan, 
Michie, and Butzner had to ren- 

der an opinion; they could not 

On July 17, 1967, the special 
three-judge panel unanimously 
and permanently enjoined the 
Attorney General of Virginia, 
the Commonwealth's Attorney 
of Amherst, and their successors 
in office, from seeking to 
enforce the racial restriction on 
Sweet Briar College. 

The state of Virginia did not 
appeal the decision. 

To this day, Newman bristles 
every time he hears the words 
"break the will." Indiana 
Fletcher Williams" legacy, after 
all, is still very much intact. He 
prefers to use the more accurate 
term "reinterpret the will." 

Newman likes to preface a 
discussion of the 1960s case 
with a look back at another, ear- 
lier SBC court battle. One hun- 
dred years ago. in 1901. 
Amherst County challenged 
Mrs. Williams' bequest, arguing 
that the "school would never 
create any significant economic 
benefit for the county." The liti- 
gation ended with the fledgling 
Sweet Briar Institute forking 
over $25,000 dollars to compen- 
sate. In the decades following, 
the College grew to become one 
of the county's largest employ- 
ers. "Which shows," says 
Newman, "how long-range pro- 
jections don't always work out 

Newman also likes to com- 
pare Sweet Briar's experience 
with another institution he was 

involved with at the same time. 
"Lightning never strikes twice," 
laughs Newman, "but it struck 
twice for me." 

During the 1 960s. while nav- 
igating Sweet Briar through 
troubled waters, Newman was 
serving as president of The 
University Club in New York. 
At the time, he says, "Women 
enrolled in accredited institu- 
tions outnumbered men by 52 
percent." Even so, the club resis- 
ted admitting women. Newman 
argued in favor on all fronts — 
moral, social, and financial — but 
the men would not budge. Only 
later, after spending several 
years in court and $700,000, the 
club took Newman's advice and 
opened its doors to females. 

It is tempting to attribute 
Newman's success to his legal 
insight and executive dexteri- 
ty — not to mention his respect 
for equal rights. 

When asked point-blank 
what it was that enabled him to 
remain standing through those 
years — through a decade of lost 
friends, terrible accusations, and 
stabbing insult.s — he does not 
need to reflect on his answer. 

"It's simple," says Newman. 
"I didn't know enough to give 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Ginger Newman Blanchard (I) and Bee Newman Thayer with their father at the reception 
following the presentation of the Outstanding Alumna Award, 1994 

J. Wilson Newman's outstanding service to Sweet Briar 
includes his unwavering support through one of the most 
tumultuous periods in the College's history, the 1963- 
1 967 effort to reinterpret the will of Indiana Fletcher 

Newman first served as a member of the President's 
Parents Council in 1957, when his daughters Ginger 
Newman Blanchard '60 and Bee Newman Thayer '61 
were students. He was elected to the Board of Overseers 
in 1960, the same year he was invited to speak at com- 
mencement. In 1963, he was elected Chairman of the 
Boards, a position that put him in the forefront of Sweet 
Briar's five-year legal battle to admit African-American 

Newman shared President Pannell's goal of achieving 
and maintaining the highest liberal arts standards for 
Sweet Briar. For nearly half a century, the Newman fam- 
ily has generously supported the College's academic ini- 

In 1965, the Newmans established the Connie M. 
Guion Award for a graduating senior who displays 
"excellence as a human being and as a member of the 
College." A decade later, the Kenmore Fund was estab- 

lished to provide the government department with a stu- 
dent merit scholarship and a faculty stipend. 

Ginger and Bee have continued their parents' legacy. 
Each has served as national chair for Reunion Giving 
and as chair of the Annual Fund. Ginger is a former 
member of the Board of Directors and Bee currently 
serves on the board. In 1994, the sisters were honored 
as recipients of Sweet Briar's Outstanding Alumna 

This year. Bee and her husband Brad created the Clara 
Collier Newman Endowment Fund in honor of her moth- 
er's strong belief in the total education of women. The 
gift was matched by her father. 

"The greatest constructive influence in my life has come 
from women," J. Wilson Newman said in his 1960 com- 
mencement address. "Starting with my mother who was 
born at Kenmore here in Amherst County... my wife — 
who is embarrassed by this reference to her, and my 
daughters whose permission I requested to appear 
before you — each has by deed and thought influenced 
my life and led me to higher ideals and greater efforts." 

March 2001 • ■ 







By Mary Molyneux Abrams "86 

Marshalyn Yeargin '68 was not an 
activist. Until the national press 
started calling her at home, she 
had no idea that she was going to be Sweet 
Briar College's first African- American student. 
Her motive, she explained, was far more per- 
sonal and practical. She wanted to be a doctor. 
At Sweet Briar, she would get the solid science 
background she needed to continue her educa- 

Marshalyn was surprised to hear reporters use the words "test 
case." Her family had a strong tradition of academic achievement. 
Her great uncle, Dr Benjamin E. Mays, received his undergraduate 
degree from Bates in 1920 and his doctorate from the University of 
Chicago in 1935. Her mother and father were college-educated 
school administrators and teachers. At the age of 18, Marshalyn had 



Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

ahiMieA' am^ pfi»^eM.srial ^^mA. Onh^ (aX^n', t»n^ ci^ie^ 
ihe^ had' 'ytatCmUti ^^t&^nv/^wizt' t^'ua^, wi»^4Aj ihe^ c^Tnt/ 1^ 

already successfully completed 
two years at Bennett College. 
Her brother was about to begin 
his freshman year at Morehouse 

Growing up in a middle-class 
family in the segregated South. 
Marshalyn never questioned her 
academic abilities and profes- 
sional goals. Only later, long 
after she had graduated from 
Sweet Briar, would she come to 
fully appreciate the power of her 
self-esteem and the African- 
American community that fos- 
tered it. 

Marshalyn's parents, Grady 
and Willie Mae Yeargin, had the 
means to shield their children 
from the most demeaning 
aspects of segregation. Direct 
contact with whites was practi- 
cally nonexistent. Three cars in 
the driveway assured that 
Marshalyn would never have to 
move to the back of the bus. 
Long-distance travel was made 
comfortable with stopovers at 
the homes of family and friends. 
Up-to-date encyclopedias at 
home compensated for the fact 
that Marshalyn's schoolbooks 
were stamped "discarded" and 
she was not permitted to use the 
pubUc library downtown until 
she was a junior in high school. 

"Black parents understood the 
rules," says Marshalyn. "And 
they avoided situations where 
their children would have to con- 
front the ugliness of segregation. 
We were sheltered. I didn't have 
any negative experiences." 

March 2001 • 

At the age of 16, Marshalyn's 
test scores qualified her to enter 
a whole handful of historically 
black colleges — a not uncom- 
mon practice in the black com- 
munity at the time. At first, she 
thought it would be better to 
wait and graduate from the seg- 
regated high school in her home- 
town of Greenville, South 
Carolina. She quickly changed 
her mind, however, after com- 
pleting an intense summer pro- 
gram in Knoxville, Tennessee, 
aimed at preparing black stu- 
dents to enter integrated schools. 

"The summer program was 
really demanding," recalls 
Marshalyn. "At the end of it, I 
thought, Boy! Why would I 
want to go back to high school 
after this? On the spur of the 
moment, I accepted one of the 
offers I'd received and entered 
college in the fall of 1 964." 

Marshalyn chose Bennett, a 
black women's college in 
Greensboro, North Carolina. The 
transition was easy. Over time, 
she began to realize it was too 
easy. She was gaining a first- 
hand understanding of the 
phrase "separate and unequal." 

"We didn't have all the 
chemicals we needed in chem- 
istry class; we had to imagine 
what would happen," explains 
Marshalyn. "The college simply 
did not have the resources. It 
was clear that, if I wanted to get 
into medical school, I was going 
to have to transfer." 

The summer after her fresh- 

man year, Marshalyn's mother 
died. For months afterward, 
unremitting grief doused her 
ambitions. She returned to 
Bennett and went through the 
motions. The comfort of close 
friends and the familiar routine 
made life bearable. 

"I woke up suddenly near the 
end of my sophomore year," 
recalls Marshalyn. "I thought, 
gosh, if I'm ever going to trans- 
fer I'd better do it now. I con- 
sulted my uncle. Dr. Benjamin 
Mays. He gave me a list of 

schools, but he was not sure 
which ones were accepting black 
students. Sweet Briar was on the 

Dr. Mays, the sixth president 
of Morehouse College and men- 
tor to Dr. Martin Luther King, 
was a highly sought-after speak- 
er on the university lecture cir- 
cuit. He had been a guest at 
Sweet Briar and knew President 
Pannell. With her uncle's recom- 
mendations in hand, Marshalyn 
composed a brief, polite letter to 
SBC admissions inquiring about 

'"■' bo, 

■-' < 



*a, "wob. '"'•ns, «!.,,; "War "'»» / 




-i:^'».c '-s>::^'_-i, 






'h„ , 



'l^^^fh u 

'"'t in""' 'ui 



■■* j/ y t» 




*'. ;. ''".i^" 


C-« .S- ^ -."^'I^S 

" 1.,. 

the/ LiruveMiPi^ 9^ 

wiXh CO cho^ 6-n^truMi^. /^ 
lAfO/i' jpdktC wiXtv (jy^, ffst" 

'pmAjU/ ^ he^ swry/ffn^- 


"( wtU'a/ (jiMtl/ C(yrU:(MU(C," 

aiflvxPy pfaMhahyn/. "^n^ / 

C&'M^tt^ TMjMt^, thOnk/- 

irn^: VJdl, the/ p£/»pl(/ aP 

/$wteP t^'uM/ ant/ lAfelt- 

<rte^. i^l/YuC weK/-ir*ie^ 
pi&pU/ lAfM not/ t(\^»w 

tMJjn^ op ri\V. 


the possibility of transferring. 
The office wrote back that it was 
too late. 

Panicked, Marshalyn phoned 
her uncle and broke the bad 
news. "I read him the correspon- 
dence." she remembers. "He 
said, 'Write them back and let 
them know you're my niece' — 
i.e.. tell them you're black." 
The timing was flawless. 
Sweet Briar had recently been 
granted a temporary restraining 
order, preventing the state from 
enforcing the "'white girls" 
clause in its charter. For the first 
time in 65 years, the board was 
seeking to admit a student exact- 
ly like Marshalyn. 

Marshalyn boarded the train 
to Sweet Briar alone. Her father 
had faith that she would be safe. 
He also could not imagine tak- 
ing a day off to accompany her. 
"I don't think my father ever 
missed a day of work," says 
Marshalyn. "Both my parents 
were hardworking, educated, 
churchgoing, law-abiding peo- 
ple — and I'm not exaggerating." 

During the trip. Marshalyn 
thought about Autherine Lucy, 
the University of Alabama's first 
black coed. Just ten years 

before, in 1956, Autherine was 
welcomed to the Alabama cam- 
pus with a cross burning. She 
was pelted with eggs, bottles, 
and bricks and suspended for 
her own protection. 

"I was a little concerned," 
admits Marshalyn. "But 1 con- 
soled myself thinking: Well, the 
people at Sweet Briar are well- 
bred. And well-bred people will 
not throw things at me. We're all 
past that stage. My father and 
my uncle would not let me go to 
a dangerous place." 

Sweet Briar greeted 
Marshalyn with open arms and 
promptly pelted her with a series 
of intellectual and emotional 
challenges. "Sweet Briar had an 
outstanding science program," 
she recalls. "In my upper level 
biology class, if I remember cor- 
rectly, each student had three 
different types of microscopes. 
We were given assignments and 
told to get to work. I had never 
set up a microscope. At Bennett, 
groups of students took turns 
using scarce equipment. I had no 
hands-on experience. It took me 
a month to summon the courage 
to admit I didn't have a clue 
where to begin. 1 was so embar- 


"It was like joining a conver- 
sation in midstream. It took a 
while to figure out what people 
were talking about. I remember 
looking at my first biology exam 
thinking. This is from another 
planet! I was used to rote, read- 
ing the material and spitting it 
back, multiple choice and short 
answer At Sweet Briar. I was 
being asked to take learning to 
the next level, to think analyti- 
cally about the material." 

Two biology professors went 
out of their way to help 
Marshalyn make up for lost 
time. "I was in Guion days, 
nights, and weekends, studying 
and praying — Dear Lord, what 
have I gotten myself into?" 
laughs Marshalyn. "Professors 
Jane Belcher and Elizabeth 
Sprague were so supportive. 
They would invite me to their 
homes. After I graduated, they 
stayed in touch with me. They 
were remarkable ladies. I know I 
would not have made it without 

Socially, Marshalyn arrived 
at SBC feeling like an equal. 
She. too. was a debutante who 
had taken her share of ballet. 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

tap, and piano lessons. If there 
were problems regarding her 
race, she was too naive to 

Her room was a single 
with — and this was surprising at 
the time — no telephone. When 
she needed to make a call, she 
sometimes used her classmate's 
across the hall in Dew. "She was 
from Virginia," recalls 
Marshalyn, "and we became 
good friends. Close enough, in 
fact, that she eventually felt 
comfortable telling me how, in 
the beginning, she used to clean 
off the phone after I used it. 

"She grew up being told that 
black people were dirty. I had no 
idea. It was a learning experi- 
ence for both of us. My parents 
were so protective, I really 
didn't know anything about 
those types of images and atti- 
tudes. I came from an all-black 
world, from a community that 
told me I was wonderful and 
convinced me I could do any- 
thing — reach for the stars. That 
encouragement carried me a 
long way. A very long way. If 
there was a positive aspect of 
segregation, that was it. 

"I can't say I had the time of 
my life socially," continues 
Marshlyn. "And that was proba- 
bly for the best. Let's face it, I 
had a lot of work to do. I did 
buy tickets and invited my 
boyfriend up for Fall Weekend, 
only to find out that the country 
club would not let us attend. Of 
course. Sweet Briar didn't have 

years to anticipate situations like 
that and neither did I. It was an 
awkward moment. There was no 
plan. We were all winging it." 

Given the choice, Marshalyn 
would do it all over again. "I 
would never portray the College 
in a negative way," she says. 
"There were so many good peo- 
ple there who wanted me to suc- 
ceed and who did their best to 
make me feel welcome. It would 
be unfair to fault the College for 
things like country club policies. 
So much of what happened was 
a reflection of the times. 

"I prefer to focus on the out- 
come. I left Sweet Briar very 
well prepared for the challenges 
I was about to face in medical 
school at Emory. I also left with 
a tremendous sense of faith — 
faith not only in myself and my 
family, but faith in others." 

Pediatric specialist, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, gracJuated Phi 
Beta Kappa from SBC in 1968. She was the first African-American 
woman to enroll in Emory University's School of Medicine, earning 
her M.D. in 1972. For 19 years, Marshalyn has been serving at the 
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where she is 
Chief of the Developmental Disabilities Branch, Division of Birth 
Defects, Child Development, and Disability and Health. 

As a physician and professor, Marshalyn regularly presents 
papers on children's health issues, including autism, blindness, 
cerebral palsy, child safety and disease prevention, epilepsy, 
fetal alcohol syndrome, and mental retardation. She publishes in 
the Annals of Neurology, JAMA, Pediatrics, and The American 
Journal of Public Health — to name just a few. 

Morsholyn's husband. Dr. Ralph Allsopp, Is a clinical psycholo- 
gist in private practice. Son Timothy recently earned his M.S.C. 
from the London School of Economics, and daughter Whitney is 
in her junior year at Emory. The Allsopp family is well acquaint- 
ed with the SBC campus. "When I served on the Board," says 
Marshalyn, "they came along and did all the fun things. The 
campus Is so beautiful. It was like a vacation." 

Now that her children are older, Marshlyn reports that she is 
"busier than ever," traveling internationally for the CDC to places 
like China and Australia. She Is a trustee of Pace Academy, a life 
member of the Atlanta Speech School, and a hiands on Atlanta 

In 1990, SBC's student Unity Club presented her with their first 
Black Woman of the Year Award. Marshalyn received the 
College's Distinguished Alumna Award in 1992. 

March 2001 • 



It is impossible to review Sweet Briar's 
1966-1976 decade without seeming to 
recognize patterns. The basic pattern was 
change, often precipitous change. The period 
began with a student body whose big sisters 
had been branded apathetic and overdomestic; 
the student of the sixties became politically 
aware both on and off the campus. There was a 
strong period of unrest in the middle of the 
decade from this trend, almost as if a 
behavioral scientist had drawn a bell curve to 
plot it; at the end of the decade, student 
attitudes and concerns had returned inward 
rather than outward. 

Fitted into the first part of the bell curve is a 
period of physical growth at Sweet Briar; by the 
end of the decade, to remodel existing buildings 
rather than build new ones suited College needs. 
In the first part of the bell curve, demands for cur- 
riculum changes were heard; they became louder, 
particularly from students; by the time the bell 
curve returned downward in 1976, the curriculum 

By Nancy St. Clair Talley" 56 
Excerpted from her article in the Fall 1976 75^ ' 
Anniversary Issue oftlie Alumnae Magazine 
Copy edited for length 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

seemed stable temporarily, with 
some desire for a return to a 
greater degree of structure. In 
the first part of the bell curve, 
administrative and staff changes 
were minor; at the middle of the 
decade major changes were ini- 
tiated with the installation of a 
new College president. 

To some extent the changes 
during 1966-76 turn up as fig- 
ures and statistics. The endow- 
ment, with a market value of 
$8,195,000 in 1 967, had a mar- 
ket value at the end of the 1976 
fiscal year of $14,304,000: 
the plant, valued in 1968 at 
$7,593, 000, grew to 
$811,21 7,000. The comprehen- 
sive fee in 1966 was $2,950; 
1976"s overall fee was $4,900. 

If you visited the 1976 Sweet 
Briar for the first time in ten 
years, you noticed changes in 
the campus. The Wailes Center, 
social hub of the campus since 
1970, extended a gracious wel- 
come to your right, across from 
the East Dell. You couldn't drive 
in the way you did before 1966; 

Memorial Chapel, dedicated in 
April 1967, stands in the old 
driveway. You needed to go 
behind the Quadrangle and the 
academic buildings, passing a 
renovated Benedict and the 
Charles Dana Wing of the Mary 
Helen Cochran Library, added in 
1 967, to enter the campus from 
the West Dell area. The Connie 
Guion Science Center, across the 
road from Babcock Fine Arts 
Center, was dedicated in April 
1966, and The Harriet Rogers 
Riding Center, beyond 
Monument Hill, in 1971. 

The old Date House was a 
hostel where overnight guests — 
male — bunked inexpensively. 
There were more parking lots. A 
paddle tennis court behind 
Sweet Briar House was popular, 
and tennis had become an after- 
dark sport when lights were 
added to some courts. The Boat 
House had almost doubled in 
size. The cornerstone of the 
swimming pool was laid in 
February 1 976 (the pool was in 
use by January "77). As the plant 

changed, so did its use, most 
notably in summer programs for 
tennis and riding. 

Some of the strongest physi- 
cal growth of the College cannot 
be seen in its plant. Generous 
gifts during the decade came in 
many small packages and a few 
large ones. The Alumnae Funds 
from 1967 through 1976 totaled 
an impressive $6.5 million. The 
largest alumna gift came from 
the estate of Ambassador and 
Mrs. Edward Thomas Wailes 
(Cornelia Wailes Wailes "26), a 
bequest of $ 1 .6 million. The 
largest single gift to the College, 
a $2.2 million bequest in 1976, 
was from the estate of John Lee 
Pratt, benefactor of a number of 
Virginia educational institutions. 
In 1970 the College was award- 
ed a National Science 
Foundation College Science 
Improvement Program (COSIP) 
Grant of $203,916 to be used 
over a three-year period to 
improve seven departments. 
This grant and siitiilar smaller 
ones followed the appointment 
of Julia Mills Jacobsen '45 as 
coordinator of government rela- 
tions for a three-college consor- 
tium formed by Sweet Briar, 
Lynchburg College, and 
Randolph-Macon Woman"s 

A significant measure of 
change is shown by College cat- 
alogs. The knowledge explosion 
dominated the decade, "The 
biggest change in teaching and 
learning today is the challenge 

l^l^wUM/thl/ 137& 

UajvI/ On/ tt/rv i^mM', lyM/ 
COAnjpjiMc. the/ VJmXM/ 
Ce/nte/v, wool h^ »f the/ 
oirmpiM"Urva' 1970, 
e/)dem4jeA/ 0/ fipMAm^/i/ 
welcowe/ 1^ w»vifv imA^, 
Wwt/ cwAliim/t' (i?\we/ vrv Uu/ 

I9&&; y^eAjyBhicd/ C/hofi!/, 
(MjocaMM/im/i^lpfvub I3&7, 

March 2001 • 


/StM^ ha^UaU' ant/ ^- 

OnA WirUtM' feMrv. ^ 

imttrnM^t/ ^iMa^ On/ s^ni' 
oHO/ f^uwmi/ p»iii^le/ im/ 
tMX/ y^dl s^ \37 \ whem/thl/ 
plcwv: OM/MAtiMjun/ttMn/ 
am4/ 0/ iphim^ UMrv, b-sUi 
(s^ C»nv-e/nti»n£d/ IfAU^ih, 
imtiNWfUdl/ bui 0/ ^)hjs'^ 
wwMn UMrv uLiA^UmA' whUh 
'itMemM' p^^MfM/ Oniimmfe/ 

dtM/yn/ i9Jf^-Cwmjji*M/ p^G^ - 

Language lab with Glenn Van 
Treese, 1969 

of expanding knowledge," said 
Dr. Milan Hapala. Carter Glass 
Professor of Government. Dr. 
Jane Belcher, Professor Emerita 
of biology, concurred: 
"Everything's completely turned 
over," she said. "We're teaching 
such things as the mechanism by 
which genes control the synthe- 
sis of proteins, which is basic to 
all of life — things we wouldn't 
have dared mention a decade 
ago. Fifteen years ago these 
things seemed beyond the realm 
of comprehension. Now we 
teach them to freshmen." 

A movement toward multi- 
disciplinary and interdisciplinary 
majors obviated the single 
major, and a student could tailor 
her own major to such interests 
as European civilization or envi- 
ronmental studies. Two new 
departments, the History of Art 
and Studio Art, emerged from 
the fomier art department, and a 
Theatre Arts Department com- 
bined drama, formerly under the 
English department, and dance, 
formerly under physical educa- 
tion. The comprehensive exami- 
nation gave way to the compre- 
hensive exercise as a require- 
ment for graduation, and each 
department decided whether a 
written exam or some other 
form would be expected. 

Not only what she studied, 
but where, when and how 
changed. Sweet Briar's distin- 
guished Junior Year in France 
celebrated its 25th anniversary 

Martha Holland '72 and Lilly Rappaport in physics lab, 1969 

in 1973. Dr. Robert G. Marshall 
became the director of the pro- 
gram a year earlier, and it con- 
tinued to attract intellectually 
energetic students from all over 
the country. The exchange pro- 
gram with St. Andrews 
University in Scotland remained 
strong. A student majoring in 
classics or history of art might 
spend the fall and winter terms 
of her third year at the 
Intercollegiate Center for 
Classical Studies in Rome; 
upperclass students could spend 
fall term in the Washington 
Semester program conducted by 
American University or the jun- 
ior year or fall temi at the 
Washington Square and 
University College of Arts and 
Sciences of New York 
University. Students might also 
elect other off-campus and for- 
eign smdy programs. 

Study habitats were far-flung, 
particulariy during Winter Temi. 
A monthlong period of intensive 
study in one area became possi- 
ble in the fall of 1971 when the 
College adopted the 4-1-4 plan: 
an autumn term and a spring 
term, both of conventional 

length, interrupted by a short 
winter term during which stu- 
dents pursued intensive courses 
on campus or designed off- 
campus projects for themselves. 

The how of the cuniculum 
was perhaps most changed by 
the machine. The first computer 
programming course was 
offered in January 1967 after the 
College joined with Lynchburg 
College and R-MWC to partici- 
pate in the Educational 
Computer Center in Lynchburg. 
The Center was used for College 
records and for research projects 
in addition to instrtiction. 
Students in 1976 used desk cal- 
culators in math classes, record- 
ing mechanisms in the language 
laboratories, microfilm readers 
in the libraries, an electric saw 
to construct drama props, and 
greatly-improved machines for 
music listening and art slide 
viewing. Yet it wasn't really a 
machine age at Sweet Briar. It 
was still a teaching age, still the 
faculty that made the greatest 
impression on the students. 

During the decade a number 
of faculty members died, teach- 
ers whom venerations of stu- 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Class of 1910, back for their 55th Reunion in 1965. 

dents had come to think of as 
synonymous with Sweet Briar. 

Other changes were not so 
final as death, but held unparal- 
leled significance for the 
College. Anne Gary Pannell. 
fifth president, whose grace, 
scholarship and practical wis- 
dom combined to make her a 
strong administrator and mentor 
for 21 years to Sweet Briar 
alumnae, retired in 1971. During 
the final five years of her admin- 
istration she had been elected to 
a four-year term as national 
president of the American 
Association of University 
Women (1967- 1971) and to a 
four-year term ( 1968-1972) as 
alumnae trustee of Barnard 
College, where as an undergrad- 
uate she was elected to Phi Beta 
Kappa and received the Gerard 
Gold Medal in American history 
and the Bamai"d International 
Fellowship. In 1966 she was 
decorated by the French govern- 
ment with the rank of 
Commandeur de I'Ordre des 
Palmes Academiques. 

Sweet Briar undergraduates 
saw her walking briskly toward 
her Fletcher office, in her scarlet 
Oxford academic gown (a stu- 
dent at St. Hugh's College, she 
was awarded a D. Phil, in 1935) 
and recognized her as a most 
feminine, most up-to-date ver- 
sion of Renaissance man, "open 
on all sides," as she was fond of 
saying, "to sunshine and light." 
Her achievements were an 
example and a standard. As if 

her life story were being written 
by a novelist who did not fear 
happy endings, Mrs. Pannell 
was married in Sweet Briar's 
Memorial Chapel in June 1971, 
to the Right Reverend George 
Taylor, Bishop of the Diocese of 
Hasten, Maryland. 

Perhaps it was asking too 
much of the Board to find anoth- 
er Renaissance Woman to serve 
as president of Sweet Briar 
College. When Harold B. 
Whiteman, Jr., was installed as 
sixth president of the College in 

October 1971, it seemed that 
Renaissance Woman had been 
followed by Renaissance Man. 
Dr Whiteman graduated Phi 
Beta Kappa froin Yale 
University in 1941, with High 
Orations and Departmental 
Honors in international relations. 
His senior thesis, NeiitraliK 
1941. was selected for publica- 
tion. Captain of the football 
team, he also helped to support 
himself by working at the stu- 
dent laundry, which he managed 
his senior year. 

ffU' h»w ®^ the/ ojwvioA/- 

ynojciwni/. . . . We^ tt- waAn't 
'itcM^ (^ Tna£hine/ oAt/ at' 
/$wtei' 13'ua^. ItwaA'^ilto/ 
tta/Mm^a/^i itMthe/ 

^^itaMM' Orr^jpfWAO»n/ 1»^ 
Uu/ itwUnU: 

Autumn dance at Boonsboro Country Club, Lynchburg, 1 966 

March 2001 • 


fsdoA^ itMm^ '^(M^^ui/- 

lUfCMM/ W»mam/, O/ 

tiki/. /5^ hM' (reMvO/ 
hetjjpjpAAj wi^i 0/ t»vm^ 

teojche^, o/ iMUd/f^- 
oxOmHtC Oiiwiru/ithat^, 

e/KooTifle/ <MuC ci/ iiwruiciM. 

On right: Susan Snodgrass '72 

Loren Oliver conducts art studio 

He served with the U.S.Army 
during Worid War II, receiving 
an honorable discharge with the 
rank of Major in 1 946. Dr 
Whiteman earned the M.A. 
degree from Vanderbilt. and in 
1948 returned to Yale, first as 
assistant dean of freshmen, then 
dean of freshmen, dean of 
undergraduate affairs, lecturer in 
history, and associate dean of 
Yale College. He received the 
Ph.D. from Yale in 1958. At 
New York University (1964- 
1971 ). he combined service as 
professor of history with succes- 
sive positions as assistant to the 
president, assistant to the presi- 
dent for student affairs, assistant 
chancellor for student affairs, 
and vice chancellor for student 

Catherine Strateman Sims, 
dean of the College since 1965, 
resigned in 1974. An honors 
graduate of Barnard College, 
Mrs. Sims studied at the 
Institute of Historical Research 
at the University of London 
before taking the M.A. and 
Ph.D. degrees at Columbia 
University. She was professor of 
history and political science at 
Agnes Scott College when 
appointed dean at Sweet Briar 
She shared Sweet Briar's aware- 
ness of foreign study benefits, 
having been vice president and 
dean of the American College 
for Giris in Istanbul (1960- 
1963). and Sweet Briar's 
emphasis upon community serv- 
ice, having twice been elected 

Atlanta's Woman of the Year. 

She was succeeded in Fall 
1974. by Barbara Blair, A. B., 
Agnes Scott College, M.S., 
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 
who had been associate profes- 
sor of chemistry, a title she 
retained along with that of dean 
of the College. As dean of the 
College, she dealt with academic 
affairs, and a dean of student 
affairs was responsible for extra- 
academic facets of student life — 
discipline, housing, dormitories, 
health, and counseling. 

Changes in the plant, the cur- 
riculum, the faculty and staff: 
seen from a distance, the decade 
appears orderly. But it was a 
time when students and faculty 
who had hastened to send relief 
to Florence after the terrible 
Amo flood returned one fall to 
find next-door Nelson County 
devastated by Hurricane 
Camille. Young men were dying 
in Vietnam in a conflict their 
contemporaries did not under- 
stand, students were killed at 
Kent State University in a con- 
frontation that appalled the 
nation, students rioted in Paris, 
and occupied administration 
buildings on campuses across 
the United States. It was not a 
comfortable decade. 

For Sweet Briar, the decade's 
opening found the College in the 
midst of litigation to reinterpret 
the will of Indiana Fletcher 
Williams, in order to permit the 
College to operate and grow in 
overall excellence by changing a 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

restricted admissions policy. 

In May 1966 Sweet Briar 
was granted a federal injunction 
temporarily restraining legal 
authorities from enforcing the 
racial restrictions in the will. 
"From that arose my first mem- 
orable duty as student govern- 
ment president," remembers 
Mary Bell Timberlake "67. 
"Early one August morning I 
was jerked out of bed by an 
urgent call from Miss Jester 
(dean of students) informing me 
that Sweet Briar had accepted its 
first black student, Penny 
Yeargin, and asking me to come 
back early to help pave the way 
for this first. Penny was an out- 
standing first in every way. I 
remember her saying the only 
'setting apart" she really noticed 
was that no one would bring up 
racial subjects at her dinner 

Although student unrest was 
slow to come to Sweet Briar. 
changes were evident to even a 
casual visitor during the first 
half of the decade. "During 
Orientation Week 1967 each 
freshman was smartly dressed in 
her new McMullens and 
Pappagallos," wrote Claire 
Kinnett '71, president of Tau 
Phi, in the Summer 1971 
Alumnae Magazine. "The fall of 
1970 brought new students com- 
fortably clad in blue jeans, 
turtlenecks, and bare feet. 
Similarly, the rigid social 
mles — six weeknight dates dur- 
ing the first year, cars for 

second-semester juniors — have 
been altered to allow each girl to 
exercise her own personal code 
of responsibility." 

"The late "608 was in my 
opinion a real transition period 
for Sweet Briar,"" said Ann 
Banks '68, head of the judicial 
committee her senior year. "The 
new administration and a basic 
change in attitudes in the early 
'70s resulted in a Sweet Briar 
different from what we knew. 
The widespread radical behavior 
of college students, their demon- 
strations for student rights and 
academic freedom (too often 
overly reactionary and violent), 
and the tremendous tension 
between students and college 
officials resulted in a highly 
volatile atmosphere on campus- 
es throughout the United States. 
I believe that this extremism 
affected attitudes at Sweet Briar 
and that many of the changes at 
Sweet Briar were influenced by 
the same liberalism prevalent on 
other campuses." 

"It was a period of enormous 
upheaval, alienation, unhappi- 
ness, and difficulty — the hard 
years," said President Emerita 
Anne Pannell Taylor. "It seems 
to me that parental passiveness 
caught up with us, so that when 
the children brought up permis- 
sively came to college they 
wanted little regulation. In addi- 
tion, there was a new individual- 
ism among some of the younger 
members of the faculty, who felt 
a primary loyalty and interest to 

their discipline rather than to the 
institution. There was an attack 
on established values, on such 
standards in education as tradi- 
tional marking, on the honor 
system, on donnitory regula- 
tions. We were affected, though 
perhaps not so much as other 
campuses, by the drug culture. 
Those of us in authority found 
ourselves in very lonely posi- 

"But we had the finest Board 
during that period that you can 
imagine. They never failed in 
trying to understand the changes 
in viewpoint of faculty and stu- 
dents. The senior men and 
women of the faculty were a 
great strength and assistance. 
None of us ever closed our 

Smdent unrest reached its 

WhiUTnom/, J'^., wa^ 
(Ismail yrvOiMre^ 137 j, 

March 2001 • 


Marcia Bernbaum '69 

Emphasis on intellectual life stands out in 
Kathy Pegues' mind 

"One thing that stands out in my mind," says Kathleen 
Garcia Pegues '71, "is an emphasis on intellectual life 
right from the 'get-go.' 

"I remember that when my acceptance letter came 
from Nancy Baldwin, another letter shortly followed from 
President Anne Gary Pannell requiring all incoming fresh- 
men to read Marshall McLuhon's book The Media is the 
Mind of the Extensions of Man. We discussed this and 
wrote some too, as I recall. Similarly, when my daughter 
was accepted (Class of '00), she received a reader of 
the history of women's education from different voices 
and perspectives. Then, during Orientation, they revised 
the papers they arrived with. 

"This exercise — extremely valuable, I think — provided 
a context for a discussion of standards of college writing 
before a penalty (a grade) was attached, AND it provid- 
ed a discussion of the current relevance of historical 
issues in women's education, just as these freshmen were 
embarking on that journey. 

"These two experiences, almost 30 years apart, give 
evidence that Sweet Briar is an intentional intellectual 
community, with instruction provided on a human scale, 
and that each woman is expected to find her voice and 
use it with persuasion and power." 

peak at Sweet Briar in May 
1970. when Cambodia and Kent 
State University were tlie trigger 
for activities ttiat were as close 
to riot and revolution as Sweet 
Briar came during the trying 
time of upheaval. In the face of 
rallies, community meetings, 
teach-ins, and a vote to suspend 
classes the College remained as 
calm as possible. Either the dean 
or the president attended each 
speech or meeting, and the 

police were kept off the central 
campus even though those in 
authority felt the situation came 
close to violence. It was a tense 
time, but it was not deplorable. 
"At best, the experience 
enhanced respect for freedom, 
for the society in which we live, 
with its many imperfections but 
also a tradition of freedom." said 
Dean Sims, speaking to alumnae 
returning for reunions immedi- 
ately after what the dean termed 
"the Happening." 

"At best." she continued, "the 
experience enhanced our stu- 
dents" belief that it is right to 
allow the discussion and expres- 
sion of different points of view, 
that there is room for disagree- 
ment, and that those who dis- 
agree, and disagree strongly, on 
questions of public policy may 
be equally sincere." 

Louisa Cahan '68 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

?«>'i//5n/ee<' 13'uafv, thi/ dMioAA i»fiervm^ ^/m/yuL the- 
CMe^ On/ the/ mUM/ «>f to>^^iXi«»n/ W ^WL/nt^/tfhet^ Uu/ 
mil sf (ruUanO/ fleMie^' VJilhwrn^, im/ i^\jW^ to-peMnit/ 
thl/ C/sUe/y/ to- »fieMt{/ aruC ^yWAr Orv wiMlt toocMemO/ 

"Imagine, as happened to me. 
hearing on a Thursday evening 
that American troops had invad- 
ed Cambodia, then driving to 
Princeton on Friday for House 
Parties Weekend only to find the 
entire campus on strike." said 
Kathy Upchurch "72, who later 
became head of the judicial 
committee. "Within a matter of 
days the college system of the 
United States — Sweet Briar was 
no exception — was beset by one 
of the most emotional periods 
I'm sure it"s faced to date. Even 
I. a relative conservative, found 
myself consumed by what was 
going on in the worid around 
me. I remember explaining to 
Mother that I would really have 
been worried and disappointed 
had Sweet Briar students not 
been struck by the same wave of 
emotion that swept thousands of 
others across the nation... I think 
for me the impact of the entire 
Cambodia-Kent State ordeal will 
long be vivid." 

By September 1970 student 
social regulations were greatly 
modified. The student handbook 
that in 1966 had prescribed hem 
lengths (one inch above the 
knee) was in the miniskirt/blue 
jean era allowing beer on cam- 
pus, men visiting in dormitories, 
and optional sign-outs for short 
or long absences from campus. 
Students had keys to their dor- 
mitories; curfews and overnight 
absence limitations were so 
lenient as to be negligible. "The 
'handbook battle' was a bitter. 

divisive struggle which pro- 
duced nourishing fruits," says 
Barbara Offut "70, student gov- 
ernment president. "The benefits 
lay not in the outcome, the new 
set of niles for social conduct, 
but in the process of questioning 
and doubting which generated 
the revised code. Problems of 
dorm keys, smoking areas, and 
curfews merely provided the 
facade of a structure which test- 
ed the relation of each individual 
to her own honor, and of indi- 
vidual to community." 

The Student Government 
Constitution, revised in 1965, 
was changed again by 1972. 
removing social regulations 
from the honor system, and cre- 
ating a house presidents council 
to deal with infractions of such 
regulations. The judicial com- 
mittee remained an interpretive 
and disciplinary body for such 
serious honor offenses as lying, 
cheating, and stealing. "After 
being on the judicial committee 
for two years," said Sally Old 
'76, the committee's chairman in 
'75-'76, "I had the opportunity 
to evaluate the honor system 
from many viewpoints. Of 
course, no system is ever per- 
fect, but I have the greatest 
respect for Sweet Briar's honor 
system. In light of the problems 
other colleges had with their 
honor systems, we can all be 
very proud of Sweet Briar's." 

Whether it was satisfaction 
with the revised handbook and 
constitution, or that unrest had 

Veronica Stubbs '73; Roslyn Monroe '73; Karen Webber '71 

come to a boiling point and been 
treated fairly and wisely, or sim- 
ply the temper of the times, the 
fact is that the last part of Sweet 
Briar's 1966-76 decade was con- 
siderably quieter than the first. 
To be sure the new president 
was greeted by streakers at 
Sweet Briar House one evening, 
but he was also elected early in 
his tenure to Aints and Asses. "I 
was greeted with a couple of 
strong requests," said President 
Whiteman, referring to student 
requests for relaxation of drink- 
ing and dorm-visiting regula- 
tions in 1971, "but since that 
time everything has remained 

Much that was both exciting 
and fine took place on campus. 
In March 1967 the first smdent- 
sponsored symposium, "Tempo 
'67," brought Edward Albee, 
John Updike, Ralph Pomeroy, 
Art Buchwald, Charlie Byrd and 
others to campus for a three-day 
concentration on contemporary 

TfU/ClaM-9^ I9&7 catni/ 
t^^/^wuP 13'uan' c</iM(4' i/rv 

ituMi; uMli/fim^, muL 
ll^apfui^alU' 'ihsU' Cs/nM'- 
tm^ wiXh/ thS/ ^IMA' Csdji/ aP 
the/ tinrU/. fwA^ ^'OM 
laie/t/, we/ ihofifM' ioccJU'- 
iwehy aP the/ (AMnA/^ yiM^i^ 
W^fJlM^ jp9>\^ mull/ wshe/ 
C(yr]T^aP l^9Gt^ and' b-tw/ 

— pfvcheh/ ^/ru^loih ' 71 

March 2001 • 


he/rn' lemMhA' (»ne/ imCh ab»v(/ the/ kv\M/) WOA im/ the/ 
7mru/ik(^/(fli^jtam/ eM/ aU^wOru^ 0-e^ s^ cwmf*^, 
TTiem/ \nMtin^ im/ lisfutnit^'UM', aAuCi»fU»naI/iOyrv-wAi4' 
sveMvi/^ ah^emXlir U/rMtaXi/yn^ weM ^ temiem^a4't»' (fi/ 

Mary Cantey '68 

arts. Its success encouraged 
■■Tempo"69. The U. S. and the 
Changing ■60s," and a "Black 
Symposium" in 1970. The shock 
of Watergate caused a three-part 
symposium during November 
1973. "CuiTent Crisis in 
National Government." The 
75th Anniversary Celebration, 
divided into a February and an 
October session, brought out- 
standing women in public life 
and outstanding alumnae to the 

Relatively minor changes 
affected campus life after 1966: 
half the meals were served buf- 
fet style; the laundry gave way 
to a self-service laundromat, the 
night watchman was replaced by 
professional security guards, and 
a guardhouse at Wailes Center 
was staffed by a security 
"greeter" on staggered hours. 

A portion of the Pratt 
Bequest made possible a new 
scholarship program that seeks 
outstanding young women 
("Sweet Briar Scholars") to 
receive financial assistance on 
the basis of academic achieve- 
ment and promise rather than 
financial need. 

Neither special events nor 
disturbing events during the 
decade effected a detour from 
the cause of sound teaching and 
sound learning to which the 
College is dedicated. For a 
women's college, the new femi- 
nism was significant. "Women's 
lib was just beginning to be 
heard at Sweet Briar when I 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae 
Magazine Centennial Issue 

graduated." said Bryan Alphin 
Bente "69, ranking scholar in herj 
class, "but the best possible 
defense, or offense, for a woman 
working in a "man's world" had 
been given to me there — that is, 
a confidence that being a 
woman in science is not strange 
or wrong if being in science (or 
art, or music, or whatever) is 
right for the woman in question. 
After four years of having my 
successes or failures judged on 
their own merits and not biased 
by my sex, 1 had learned to try 
to apply the same kind of unbi- 
ased analysis to myself." 




Price 'Chuges 


'While every reoMirnble cafe will be exercised, all 
iienu will oe laundered only ai the ownef'i ri&k. The 
Laundry «.ill ttoi be retponsible for jewelry or other 

The Class of 1 972 made the 
25th decked out as flower chil- 
dren; singing to the tune of 
"Feelin' Groovy," they threw 
flowers into the Convocation 
audience, and declared them- 
selves grateful for what Sweet 
Briar has given them. L-r: Susan 
Snodgross Wynne; Rhonda 
Griffin Durham; Katherine 
Upchurch Takvorian; Virginia 
Upchurch Collier. 

Pholo by David Abroms 

Elizabeth "Keedie" Grones Leonard '76: 
Important People and Memories 

People who have been especially important to Sweet Briar include: Harriet Rogers for 
the Physical Education and Riding programs; Paul Cronin, who made the Riding 
Program what it is today — a real admissions and alumnae draw; Kitty Seaman, whose 
'Marriage and the Family' course was really a 'how to' for life; Milan Hopolo, who 
brought a worldly perspective to our rural campus; Peter Daniel, a hard-nosed finance 
man; Anne Pannell, who inspired the 'Woman Can' idea; 'Hot Dot' Jester, who kept the 
SBC 'lady' olive through a hard period; Joe and Edna Lee Gilchrist '26 — big believers 
in and supporters of the SBC 'community'; the Prothro family for their wonderful support 
in so many areas; the Riding Center donors. 

Memories abound! The old Refectory and waitresses; the streaking event; pie-throwing 
for charity $; the Sweet Tones serenading at night; hours and hours at the Riding Center, 
plus shows and hunts; the Bistro; hlojo's in your nightgown; truckloads of UVA guys to the 
Boat House for parties; n)eeting signs on the bathroom stalls; Mother Mackie's; Grammer 
Commons shows; Ass Shows; Bum Chums; 'FLUShllNG'l; The Pit; all-nighters; Camps; Senior 

i believe that Sweet Briar's ability to grow (often in 'new directions') and stay current 
while still supporting the 
tenets of a liberal arts educa- 
tion for women and not los- 
ing the traditions and size 
that bond generations of 
women together, is all- 

SBC gives you the same 
basics you could get else- 
where, but then adds amaz- 
ing opportunities and flexibil- 
ity to explore and create in 
many different directions. 

The student at SBC 
really controls the outcome 
of her education — o big 

CtyXfrUKi/ hcui tsmA ii/rvce/ 
WM, ( HumM/ wi/ hcU' 0/ 

March 2001 • 


the/ ^aJU/$cfyUaM^ f^K^^yuxmv: 

The Ewald Scholars Program was established in 1977 by Jane 
Rosebeny Ewald Tolleson '52 and her late husband, John A. 
Ewald, Jr. In 1981 Mr. and Mrs. John A. Ewald, Sr. permanently 
endowed the program honoring their son. 

World-renowned ethol- 
ogist and director of 
the Gombe Research 
Centre, Tanzania. Jane Goodall 
was the first participant in the 
Ewald Scholars Program, com- 
ing to campus several succes- 
sive years to share the results of 
her longtime close study of the 
wild chimpanzees of the Gombe 

Jane Goodall, right, with Margaret Medlock '81 and Deidre Plait '83 


Stream Reserve. During this 
time, she served as visiting pro- 
fessor of anthropology at Sweet 
Briar. Her lectures and slide pre- 
sentations drew SRO crowds on 
each of her two-three day visits, 
which included special pro- 
grams for secondary school stu- 
dents, some coming by school 
bus from as far away as 

Most memorable of these 
occasions was the 1981 pro- 
gram. "Hominids and Pongids: 
What We Can Learn About 
Humankind from the 
Apes.'which brought together 
on the Babcock stage four of 
the world's foremost primatol- 
ogists: Jane Goodall, Dian 
Fossey, Birute Galdikas, and 
Francine Patterson. Through 
two full days of morning, 
afternoon, and evening lec- 
tures, films, slide shows, a 
panel presentation, and 
question/answer ses- 
sions, they shared 
information about their 
studies in field and 
laboratory on chim- 
panzees, gorillas, 
and orangutans. 
Gilbert M. 
Grosvenor. presi- 
dent of the 

Society and member of SBC's 
Board of Overseers from 1972- 
1980, acted as moderator for 
the lecture sessions: Mary 
Griswold Smith, senior assis- 
tant editor, National 
Geographic magazine, moder- 
ated the panel presentation. 

Jane Goodall spoke on "The 
Chimpanzee: Hunter and 
Toolmaker" and "The Gombe 
Baboons and Their Relation to 
Chimpanzees." Birute Galdikas, 
director of the Tanjung Puting 
Research Center, Borneo, 
addressed "The Orangutan and 
Hominoid Evolution." Dian 
Fossey, project coordinator, 
Karisoke Research Centre, 
Rwanda, discussed "The 
Survival of Free Ranging 
Mountain Gorilla Groups." 
Francine Patterson, president 
and research director, The 
Gorilla Foundation, told of 
"Koko: A Gorilla Who Talks" 
and "Experiments in Primate 
Communication." The panel 
covered "What We Can Learn 
About Humankind from the 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

A Very Good Time: 

Dean Sims Remembers 1965-197 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

Catherine Sims served as dean of the College for nine 
years, from the summer of 1 965 through the summer of 
1974. Those dates — encompassing civil rights, anti-war, 
women's rights, and other student movements — would send 
a shiver down the spine of most college administrators, but 
not Catherine. 

"From my administrative point of view," soys Catherine, 
"it was a very good time. We had ample student applica- 
tions and very good enrollment. In fact, we had as many 
well-qualified students as we could cope with. Dips were 
expected and did eventually occur. But in my time, demo- 
graphics were not an issue. 

"One of the main characteristics of the student body was 
to have a great interest in what was going on in the world. 
The long tradition of the St. Andrews and Junior Year in 
France programs meant that every senior class had students 
who hod been abroad. One of the things I was able to do 
was to enlarge those opportunities. Our students were able 
to attend reputable programs in countries like Spain and 
Italy. Martha von Briesen, then director of public relations, 
created a brochure called Foreign Study for Juniors that 
pleased President Pannell no end." 

When Catherine arrived in 1965, Sweet Briar's legal 
action to obtain an open admissions policy was well under- 
way. She remembers attending the U.S. District Court hear- 
ing in Charlottesville, listening to Sweet Briar's constitutional 
consultant, Thomas S. Currier, argue on the College's 

"Mr. Currier was a young lawyer and a member of the 
faculty of the University of Virginia Law School. During his 
presentation, he claimed that a failure to diversify would 
put the College at a great, long-term disadvantage. One of 
the judges responded, 'Well, Mr. Currier, that's an opinion, 
isn't it?' And he answered, 'Yes it is, your Honor.' " 
Catherine can't explain why she remembers that moment so 
well, except that the matter was so important, any hint of a 
setback fixed her attention. 

"There were people in the wider community who were 
very much against the College's decision to reinterpret the 
will," Catherine recalls. "But on the campus itself, you 
would never know the issue was there. Sweet Briar's deci- 
sion and desire to enroll students regardless of race was 
tery solidly set by the time I arrived. There was no debate 
pver admitting Marshalyn Yeargin. The outlook was one of 

anticipation. The day had finally arrived. Of course she 
was coming." 

Halfway through Catherine's tenure, student interest in 
what was going on in the world began to center on the 
war in Vietnam. Again, her experience runs counter to the 
prevailing image of the period. 


"It was a time of student unrest over U.S. foreign policy," 
Catherine explains. "We sow a great deal of student con- 
cern. I can't say they were all opposed to the war, because 
they weren't all opposed. Student opinions varied and noth- 
ing disorderly happened. We had gatherings. Speeches 
were made. There was an effort to get the facts straight. 

"What happened at Sweet Briar was so low-key com- 
pared to what happened at other institutions. I remember 
with gratitude the courtesy of the students. Students were 
polite in those days, which did not mean they agreed with 
you. Often they didn't. But disagreements took the form of 
rational discussions. They were very bright, concerned, and 
civilized young people — I hope they still are." 

In retrospect, Catherine considers her nine years at SBC 
to be the happiest of her professional life. "I don't think I 
enjoyed any job as much," she says. "The variety of 
responsibilities was wonderful. You didn't have a block 
around you; you were allowed to be yourself and con- 
tribute to the life of the College. 

"The general standards of the College — the admissions 
policy, the educational program, the quality of the faculty — 
were excellent. Those strengths carried us through the anxi- 
eties of the era to the benefit of our students — even if they 
didn't think so at the time." 

March 2001 • wvinA'.alumnae. 



In the spring of 1970, students at Sweet 
Briar, like students at many other colleges, 
went out on strike to protest the incursion 
by the United States and South Vietnam into 
Cambodia and the killing of four students at 
Kent State. The strike is a subject of some con- 
troversy. I should make a couple of matters 
clear before saying anything more about these 
events. First, I am hardly an objective observer. 
I was an active though not particularly impor- 
tant participant in these events at Sweet Briar. 
At the time, I believed that we could hardly 
have done less than we did to respond to the 
situation as we saw it. I still think that way. If, 
however, I cannot be fully objective, I can at 
least avoid being judgmental. 

By Michael D. Richards 
Hattie Mae Samford Professor 
of History, SBC 
Excerpted from a Spring 1989 
Alumnae Magazine article 

In the spring of '85, preparing 
to speak at Reunion, I asked 
members of the Class of '70 
[15th Reunion] to write or call 
to let me know how they had 
viewed events then. Some of 
those responding told of being 
hounded or ostracized for not 
sharing then-prevailing opinions. 
Some had since revised their 
ideas, others had not. The point 
of that testimony is that people 
saw the situation in different 
lights — perhaps an obvious con- 
clusion but one that was not 
easy to see then. At the time I 
found it difficult to understand 
how people could not support 
the strike and other efforts to 
protest against the war. Now I 
have only respect for those who 
responded to the crisis, whatever 
the nature of response. 

I want to sketch in some 
background before discussing 
the events at Sweet Briar. The 
war in Vietnam, the central ele- 
ment of the protest movement, 
had been going on, with a few 
years of peace in the 1950s, 
since shortly after the Second 
World War. The United States 
had been involved in various 
ways almost from the beginning, 
but until 1963 its commitment in 
both men and material was lim- 
ited. That year there were 
approximately 15,000 military 
advisors from the United States 
in South Vietnam. The following 
year Congress passed the Gulf 
of Tonkin Resolution, which 
gave President Lyndon Johnson 

virtually unlimited power to 
wage war without a formal dec- 
laration. By December 1 965 
troop strength had reached near- 
ly 200,000rin 1966 it doubled to 
nearly 400,000. By eariy 1968 it 
seemed to have leveled off to 
approximately 540,000. 

The Tet Offensive in January 
and February 1968 shocked 
American public opinion. Viet 
Cong penetrated the grounds of 
the American Embassy in 
Saigon and VC and North 
Vietnamese regulars attacked 
nearly every major city in South 
Vietnam. The Tet Offensive was 
carried out at great cost to the 
VC and North Vietnam. The 
United States and South 
Vietnam could legitimately 
claim a military victory. 
Psychologically, however, the 
effects were devastating. 
Numerous Americans had 

beheved President Johnson and 
others who for several years had 
claimed to see the "light at the 
end of the tunnel." The Tet 
Offensive brought into question 
any previous claims that victory 
was near or that the South 
Vietnamese would ever be able 
to defend themselves. Even peo- 
ple within the Johnson 
Administration began to ques- 
tion in a serious way the likeli- 
hood that the war could be won. 

As the war had widened, a 
peace movement had grown up 
alongside. The beginnings date 
back to 1965 with a series of 
"teach-ins," efforts to acquaint 
Americans in colleges across the 
country with facts about the war 
and with reasons why the United 
States should not be involved in 
it. In October 1 967 the protest 
against the war increased greatly 
in terms of visibility and press 

coverage with the March on the 
Pentagon, described in his usual 
charmingly egocentric way by 
Norman Mailer in The Annies of 
the Night. 

The peace movement was 
divided. Some went so far as to 
favor the Viet Cong and to 
regard the protest against the 
war as their contribution to some 
sort of world revolution. The 
majority of Americans protested 
against the war as an activity 
that was misguided or counter- 
productive. Many, of course — 
those of draft age and those 
whose sons, brothers, lovers, 
husbands or friends were of 
draft age — had personal stakes 
in the protest. 

Nineteen sixty-eight was a 
crucial year. The Tet Offensive 
and conclusions that many in the 
Johnson Administration drew 
from it convinced President 
Johnson that it would be in his 
interest and in the best interest 
of the country not to seek anoth- 

March 2001 • www.alumnae.sbcedu 


S/JHlt/ Ou^wuP Z^tto^' yiWftr its^A^ (yrv the/ /$d^-/$tM^ 
Oru p^i^^ywH' On/ I9&9 cCtexO, O/i' cv wijisfv CsndM/ii/»^ 
9^ Uii/ 'MiAA/i itMimX/ afoMiAy OA O/ -je^twKM' ph&^U/m/, 

er term. Over the next few 
months an extraordinary series 
of events occurred. The assassi- 
nation of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
in April was followed by a stu- 
dent strike and takeover of the 
administration building at 
Columbia. At Columbia, Tom 
Hayden called for "two. three, 
many Columbias" in imitation 
of the Cuban revolutionary Che 
Guevara who, a few years 
before, had talked of the need 
for "two, three, many 
Vietnams." The assassination of 
Robert Kennedy, a leading con- 
tender for the Democratic presi- 
dential nomination, seemed to 
many the final unbelievable 
event. However, it was easily 
topped by the August 
Democratic Convention in 
Chicago. American TV viewers 
were treated to a new spectacle: 
the "police riot." Young radicals 
were beaten senseless and 
bloody in the streets of the city 
while the convention, meeting 
under tight security, nominated 
Hubert Humphrey as its candi- 
date for president. The system 
seemed to be cracking under the 

One way of looking at the 
'60s entails seeing 1968 as a 
high point, a dramatic culmina- 
tion of much that had gone 
before. According to this thesis, 
the counterculture and radical 
politics began to lose momen- 
tum, to splinter. Certainly, if one 
follows the disintegration of the 
SDS (Students for a Democratic 

Society) into the Weathermen 
faction, which moved in the 
direction of guerilla-style cam- 
paigns and terrorism, or if one 
traces the way the countercul- 
ture folded back on itself and 
concentrated on drugs and rock 
music, it is difficult not to 
believe that whatever promise 
the ■60s had. had disappeared by 
the late "60s and early "70s. To 
this idea of peaking and then 
disintegration, one might add 
the extent to which American 
commerce, ever alert to the pos- 
sibility of making a buck, seized 
on elements of the countercul- 
ture and protest movement. A 
good example of this would be 
the Broadway musical Hair. 
opening in 1968, supported by 
mostly middle-class audiences 
paying good money to be 
shocked by flesh, profanity, and 
references to drugs and deviant 
sex practices. By the 1970 
appearance of "Getting 
Straight." an obscenity of a 
movie starring Elliot Gould and 
Candice Bergen, both the coun- 
terculture and radical politics 
had been turned into a commer- 
cial product. 

There is much truth in the 
idea that many elements central 
to the '60s either disappeared or 
were distorted after the traumat- 
ic year 1968. However, I would 
like to emphasize the persistence 
of protest against the war in 
Vietnam. This not only lived on; 
it reached a peak in '69- '70 and 
only finally ceased when 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

American involvement in the 
war ceased. 

It has taken me a long time to 
get to Sweet Briar, fall semester, 
1969. Sweet Briar in this period 
is interesting because it demon- 
strates in a microcosm the ideas 
I have sketched. By '69 Sweet 
Briar had undergone many 
changes. It had greatly increased 
in size in the early '60s. It had 
challenged the prevailing inter- 
pretation of the will of Indiana 
Fletcher Williams and had begun 
to admit black students. Students 
generally were aware of and 
concerned about many of the 
issues being debated nationally. 

While a Sweet Briar News 
story on the Self-Study in 
progress in 1969 cited, as a 
major conclusion of the study, 
student apathy as a serious prob- 
lem, other stories from the paper 
furnish evidence to the contrary. 
"Tempo," a student-organized 
symposium, showcased avant- 
garde artists, writers and film- 
makers in 1968. In "69 it 
brought a number of political 
activists, Tom Hayden among 
them, to campus. Finally, in the 
spring of 1970, it sponsored a 
symposium on the "...Black Man 
in America." New dress regula- 
tions were introduced in 1 969. 
The question of parietals was 

discussed. A Sex Information 
Committee (a most unfortunate 
acronym) was formed. Paint "n' 
Patches staged "Viet Rock," a 
protest musical. A large crowd 
of students, faculty, and staff 
turned out on 1 5 October (which 
happened that year to be 
Founders' Day) to take part in 
the nationwide Moratorium, an 
event that had been organized as 
a dramatic expression of public 
opinion against the war. 

In many important ways. 
Sweet Briar shared national 
interests and concerns. It reflect- 
ed the increasingly vocal opposi- 
tion to the war. an opposition 
that had lost some ground when 
some of its supporters wanted to 
use it as the basis for a revolu- 
tion and that had lost additional 
ground while it gave Nixon a 
chance. The events of the spring 
of '70 can only be understood in 
the context of an intense nation- 
al debate on American involve- 
ment in the war in Vietnam, a 
debate in which a large number 
of Americans stood firmly 
against the war. 

On April 30, 1970, President 
Nixon announced that American 
and South Vietnamese forces 
had attacked communist sanctu- 
aries in Cambodia. A few days 
later, Americans were stunned to 

hear that National Guardsmen 
had killed four students and 
wounded several others at 
Ohio's Kent State University. 
The May 8 Sweet Briar News, 
the last issue of the year as it 
turned out, ran a front-page arti- 
cle on the National Student 
Strike. Over 300 colleges had 
gone on strike. The debate at 
Sweet Briar, to strike or not, was 
just the beginning. On May 7, a 
Thursday, about 100 students 
and a couple of faculty had a 
meeting in the Quad. Those at 
the meeting agreed to hold a 
teach-in Monday afternoon and 
a community meeting that 
evening to decide on whether to 

More than 700 people attend- 
ed the Monday, May 1 1 evening 
meeting. Most of those speaking 
favored suspension of classes 
with no penalty for students who 
did not wish to complete course 
work or take finals. The vote at 
the meeting was 5 1 7 in favor. 

198 against and 3 abstentions. A 
letter sent by the Steering 
Committee to parents to explain 
the strike and its purposes 
emphasized a moderate, con- 
structive approach. "We stress 
the need for reform within the 

The faculty met the follow- 
ing day to consider its response 
to the results of the community 
meeting. After much debate, it 
agreed that no student would 
receive an automatic "F" on the 
final exam for failing to take it. 
It was left to the judgement of 
the individual faculty member to 
determine the basis for a stu- 
dent's grade in a course. Many 
faculty let it be known that a 
student could accept whatever 
grade she currently had if she 
wished to participate in the 
strike movement. Some felt it 
imperative that students fulfill 
all the requirements connected 
with a particular course. The 
decisions that had to be made 

Activist Tom Hayden spoke at Sweet Briar in 1 969 

March 2001 • 


(P lAK^ 'nM' a/r\/ MA^ time/ 

lAni/XflCM/ (oMaai VCiCCO- 

thu^ pj^liMXAt VWtrypO/- 
UvuA, f^ that' thM^ hud 

were not easy ones. Faculty had 
to set the obligations of their 
profession against what some 
saw as the extraordinary needs 
of the moment. 

It was not an easy time for 
students, either. Some, of course, 
regarded the strike as a party, an 
unexpected early vacation. 
Others, whatever their political 
sympathies, felt that they had to 
finish their course work. A large 
number plunged into the frenetic 
activities associated with the 
strike. Like most other ■60s 
movements, the strike move- 
ment at Sweet Briar featured 
committees and the production 
of a great quantity of propagan- 
da. Committees ranged from the 
"Sweet Briar Movement for a 
New Congress" to the "Area 
Action Committee" to the 
"Give-Nixon- A-Chance 
Committee." Those at the center 
of the strike went from commit- 
tee meeting to the typewriter or 
ditto machine and back to anoth- 
er meeting. The intensity of 
these few days can be seen in 
the partial schedule for May 14: 
9:30 a.m. Area Action Committee: 

Facts on Vietnam; Intensive Discussion 

in Small Groups 
12:00 p.m. Chapel: 

"Poetry of the Music of Anguish" 
3:00 p.m. "Canvassing, Lobbying and 

Compaigning: Ethics and Methods" 
7:30 p.m. Areo Artion Workshops — 

Approaches in Amherst County 
8:45p.m. Lantern Bearing 

In addition to protest against 
the incursion in Cambodia and 

the killings at Kent State, the 
strike had two important objec- 
tives. One was to begin organiz- 
ing for a grass-roots effort in the 
fall to help elect peace candi- 
dates to Congress. A second was 
to provide information on the 
war to residents of Amherst 

To some the events at Sweet 
Briar seemed only a pale imita- 
tion of events elsewhere or, 
more sinister, some kind of con- 
spiracy put together by outsiders 
working with a few radical stu- 
dents and faculty. These are 
judgements that cannot be dealt 
with in any definitive way. 
Sweet Briar was about a week 
behind many other colleges and 
universities in going on strike. 
Students from Princeton appar- 
ently had some influence on the 
course of events. Yet, some of 
those active from the start 
believe that it was an indigenous 
movement. Sweet Briar's own 
response to national events. 
Clearly, some of the hotbeds of 
radicalism in academe had taken 
the lead. The Sweet Briar com- 
munity had followed, but in its 
own way. 

The efforts to reach the wider 
community of which Sweet 
Briar is a part were not success- 
ful. Amherst County residents 
who came into contact with 
Sweet Briar students that May 
were unfailingly polite but 
equally unconvinced by earnest 
endeavors to enlighten them. 
The next fall a relatively small 

Forum to discuss Cambodia 

number of students took part in 
the attempts to elect peace can- 
didates to Congress. It was not 
much different elsewhere in the 
United States. Massive acts of 
public protest had done about all 
that they could do to change the 
nature of American politics. 

The fact that results limped 
far behind expectations in 1970 
should not lead us to regard the 
strike at Sweet Briar and else- 
where a failure. That Sweet 
Briar staged a strike is one indi- 
cation of just how far challenges 
to authority and new ideas had 
permeated the fabric of 
American life. The various cur- 
rents at work across America 
were active at Sweet Briar, too. 

For a brief period of time that 
May. those of us at Sweet Briar 
and many other colleges nation- 
wide experienced something 
quite rare: the feeling that we 
were part of a momentous his- 
torical development. That what 
developed turned out to be not 
so momentous, that whatever the 
"60s are as a period in history 
turns out to be a mosaic of 
developments, most of them less 
dramatic and stirring, takes 
nothing away from that moment 
of high crisis and common 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Hard Rain: 

Professor Lee Piepho's First Year at SBC 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

Professors Lee and Susan Piepho come to campus in 
August 1969 on the heels of Hurricane Camille. They drove 
from Charlottesville, v/here they had completed their doctor- 
al studies at the University of Virginia. Lee was joining the 
College's English department. Susan joined the chemistry 
department several years later. 

"It was one crazy time," laughs Lee. "In the wake of 
Camille, immense amounts of mud were left covering newly 
completed sections of route 29. The damage was over- 
whelming. Portions of the bypass were never dug out. The 
feeling was 'let the devil take it,' We literally drive on top 
of those buried roods today." 

In addition to settling in and planning his courses, Lee 
volunteered to help a faculty group headed by professors 
John McClenon (chemistry) and John Shannon (music) 
rebuild houses in Nelson County. "It was on alarming 
sight," remembers Lee. "Thirty inches of rain had fallen in 
only eight hours. In Massie's Mill there was nothing but 
river boulders and tree stumps. I had never seen anything 
like it before — ever." 

The academic year that began with Hurricane Camille 
ended with another shock: the American invasion of 
Cambodia and the shootings at Kent State University on 
May 4, 1 970. 

Unlike Camille, Lee was braced for the aftermath of Kent 
State. Student protests were something he hod seen before. 
Both he and Susan had been graduate students at 
Columbia University, where anti-war demonstrations had 
escalated throughout the 1 960s. 

"In 1966," says Lee, "Columbia hod a full-scale dress 
rehearsal for the student strikes of 1 968 — cops, clubs, 
dogs — all of it. It was a powder keg." 

The all-male University of Virginia was relatively quiet 
when the Piephos arrived, but "flipped" during their stay. 
"You could see it coming," says Lee, "especially among 
undergraduates facing the draft." 

At Sweet Briar, English department chairman Professor 
Dick Rowland brought Lee up to dote on recent events, giv- 
ing him a sense of where the College stood at the close of 
the 1960s. "It was on unusual time," Lee explains. "Sweet 
Briar was still experiencing fallout from the reinterpretotion 
of the will. Dick had been very active in that movement and 
talked about it a lot." However, Lee points out, "After 'the 
cose' was successfully closed, the College hod no time to 

stop and catch its breath." The civil rights movement was 
one aspect of a broader, decode-long social and cultural 
revolution that left no institution unscathed. 

Lee saw dramatic changes take place over the course of 
the academic year. Dress codes, which hod been fraying 
for some time, finally disintegrated after the start of the fall 
semester. "Students went from skirts to bell bottoms — M 
bang! — overnight," he recalls. "I was teaching in 301 " 
Fletcher — about one month into the course — when a desig- 
nated student came up and asked permission for the class 
to wear pants. I told her in so many words that I didn't care 
what they wore to class provided they wore something. I 
really hadn't thought about it." 

By the end of the spring term, wearing bell bottoms to 
class was no longer an issue. The new question was 
whether or not to attend classes at all. After National 9 

Guardsmen shot four students during on anti-war protest at' 
Kent State, campuses across the country were closing down 
OS students elected to go on strike. Lee took Sweet Briar's 
strike in stride, giving his students flexibility with final 
papers and exams. "The faculty was divided over what to 
do," recalls Lee, "but it's not worth raking those coals." 

Weather and war dominated the headlines during Lee's 
first year, obscuring on emerging issue that would preoccu- 
py the College in the years ahead. "There was another cur- 
rent running in 1969," says Lee. "That was the year the 
University of Virginia went coed. To some extent, it marked 
the beginning of problems with self-definition for Sweet 
Briar. Why remain a women's college? What was our mis- 
sion? Wasn't coeducation the natural, obvious thing to do? 

"It was a rough time. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. 
In the decades that followed, so much of the larger culture 
continued to play out on the Sweet Briar campus because 
so many notional concerns directly or indirectly revolved 
around women. In terms of ongoing social change, this 
was the place to be." 

March 2001 • 


Harold B. Whiteman 

President Harold B. 
Whiteman (1971-1983) 
had a theory about wor- 
ship. He thought that services 
were more meaningful and satis- 
fying when people were able to 
look into each other's eyes, as 
opposed to "sitting in their own 
little cocoons, staring at the 
backs of the heads of people 
seated in front of them." He 
tried to have the floor plan of 
the Sweet Briar Chapel 

rearranged into a circle, to pro- 
mote a sense of warmth and 

President Whiteman did not 
succeed in his effort to alter the 
seating arrangement in the 
Chapel. But he did manage, with 
the help of his wife, Edith 
("Deedie"), to achieve a similar 
goal in almost every other facet 
of campus life. 

The Whitemans turned Sweet 
Briar House into an Open 
House. The rooms were redeco- 
rated in an inviting style and 
readied for entertaining. 
Everyone was welcome. "The 
kind of accessibility we've 
known," said the late Julia 
Sadler de Coligny '34, "cannot 
be taken for granted. Sweet 
Briar House has never been so 
chamiing, well-furnished, and 
tastefully decorated for each sea- 
son of the year. The Whitemans 
have really spoiled us. and the 
best part of it is, they have 
seemed to enjoy it. too." 

Her senior year. Lochrane 
Coleman Smith '76. attended a 
meeting at Sweet Briar House, 
during which Deedie reminded 
the students that they were free 
to stop by anytime — breakfast, 
lunch, or dinner — the 
Whitemans would love to see 
them. "The next morning," 
Lochrane recalls, "I woke up 
eariy and thought, 'I'm going 
over for breakfast.' " She walked 
into the president's house unan- 
nounced, found Ruth the maid in 
the kitchen, and asked her if 
she'd mind putting an extra plate 
on the table. 

"Here comes Deedie 
Whiteman." laughs Lochrane. 
"pretending to be delighted to 
see me. We sat down and had 
breakfast. Harold came down 
the steps in his bathrobe and 
said, 'Oh my God!' and walked 
back upstairs. We became very 
good friends. The Whitemans 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

came to my wedding. It was 
great fun." 

The Whitemans were accus- 
tomed to discovering guests at 
their breakfast table. They had 
three children who brought car- 
loads of friends home from Yale 
during vacations. In many 
respects, the Whitemans" active 
involvement in the student com- 
munity — the meetings, recitals, 
and informal gatherings at 
Sweet Briar House — came natu- 
rally. They had a genuine spark, 
what Ann Marshall Whitley '47 
called a Kennedyesque "vigah!" 
Which is not to say that the 
Whitemans were not conscious 
of their roles. For 12 years, their 
lives were carefully arranged to 
achieve a single, overarching 
objective: to make the learning 
process at Sweet Briar signifi- 
cant and memorable. 

"The most important thing I 
tried to convey," says President 
Whiteman, "was ajoie de vivre 
about academic work. I wanted 
students to enjoy studying. Once 
you discover pleasure in learn- 
ing, you'll continue for the rest 
of your life. Simply doing what 
someone else tells you to do is 
no fun. Researching in the lab or 
the library on your own, follow- 
ing up on your interests, really 
getting into it, is rewarding. It's 

The president put his mes- 
sage across in the classroom, 
where he taught a course on for- 
eign policy. He encouraged stu- 
dents to participate in campus 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

life by showing up himself at 
theatre and dance productions, 
on the tennis courts, in the 
Bistro, at lectures, and during 
swim meets. His interest in aca- 
demic and co-curricular activi- 
ties was evident and made a last- 
ing impression on students. 
Seventeen years after gradua- 
tion, Chris Svoboda '84 still 
remembers Whiteman saying, 
"If you leave this college eager 
to know more, feeling that you 
didn't learn enough in your four 
years here, then you have really 
received a Sweet Briar educa- 

President Whiteman's sup- 
port of athletics is well docu- 
mented (see "Body, Mind, and 
Spirit: The '70s revival of athlet- 
ics at SBC lasts into the new 
century"). But his involvement 
went beyond hiring coaches and 


Professor Gerry Berg and a stu- 
dent try out the new Parcourse 

raisHig funds for renovations and 
new construction. The 
Whitemans created an award for 
the outstanding scholar-athlete 
of the year. Attention was not 
limited solely to competitive 
sports. Facilities for the dance 
program were upgraded during 
the Whiteman administration, 
and recreational havens like the 
Boat House and Outing Cabin 

were restored. 

Prior to Whiteman's arrival, 
Benedict (then called Academic) 
consisted of classrooms, each 
one containing a single faculty 
office. The complete renovation 
of the building included cluster- 
ing departmental offices together 
at the end of each hall, filling 
classrooms with comfortable 
chairs placed around large 

Martial arts class 

March 2001 



Oi' O/Cef^^Mm/ (Mi' 9^ Ueal- 

th(/ wsttC »veMuA^ a/ruC 
—Handi WhjiMmaun/, \ 9 7& 

f i^chWv h(/ waA he/dOiHo oAwAt^ thX/ ifhcwn/i- »f ws^ and 

nitiU' ^M/ lAfs^mim/ i/rv the/ W(^ikplac(/ w^^dd idtvmaXdA^ 
ithem^^Uiem/ Tru:(fMa^ and ^awilM, a/nd Uad t&- a nCAAT 
leA^el/ 9^ ihoMn^. 

tables, and also creating a space 
(Tyson Auditorium) where 
groups could gather for lectures 
and presentations. Whiteman 
delighted in the layout, which he 
hoped would encourage interac- 
tion between colleagues and 
among faculty and students. 

Whiteman"s brand of leader- 
ship centered on the very com- 
plex business of community 
building. He was good at it. 
'Tve met so many people from 
Yale who just loved Harold 
Whiteman," says Lee Piepho. 
Sweet Briar"s Sara 
Shallenberger Brown Professor 
of English. "He had been an 
associate dean at Yale before he 
went on to become a professor 

and administrator at New York 
University. At NYU, he walked 
into all the stuff, all the wars of 
the late 1960s. 

"We were lucky to catch him 
in many ways." continues 
Piepho. "I believe the College 
was looking for a student- 
oriented president who was 
responsive, who understood the 
sixties social and cultural revo- 
lution. Harold really qualified on 
both counts. He was able to con- 
solidate a lot of things that had 
been taking place at Sweet Briar, 
starting with "the case" in the 
early 1960s. He changed the 
nature of the institution." 

Midway through his tenure, 
in a 1976 interview for the 

Sweet Briar 75''' Anniversary 
Alumnae Magazine. President 
Whiteman told Nancy St. Clair 
Tally "56, "The whole world has 
changed, not just Sweet Briar. 
The mood has changed from a 
more outward concern to a 
much more self-centered con- 
cern about such things as getting 
jobs. In some ways, this change 
is not entirely good. There is a 
certain loss of idealism — stu- 
dents realized they could not 
change the world overnight and 
so they stopped trying. 

"In our particular case, this 
turning inward is augmented by 
the realization that women can 
do more things. The increased 
opportunities open to women 

Deedie Whiteman at a swim meet 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

make them more inti"ospective 
and self-centered." 

Whiteman supported Carter 
Hunter Hopkins "68 in her effort 
to expand the services of the 
career planning office. As a col- 
lege president swimming against 
the riptide of double-digit infla- 
tion (and consequently never 
getting faculty salaries as high 
as he wanted them to be), 
Whiteman understood the imme- 
diate concerns of young women 
facing an uncertain economic 
future. In addition to adding new 
majors and dual-degree pro- 
grams, his administration backed 
certificate programs like Arts 
Management, granted credit for 
summer internships, and made it 
affordable for older women to 
start or resume their educations 
through the Turning Point 

Though he was realistic 
about the strains of work and 
family life, Whiteman hoped 
that increased opportunities for 
women in the workplace would 
ultimately strengthen marriages 
and families, and lead to a new 
level of sharing. "I tried to let 
students know," says Whiteman, 
"that the goal should be sharing. 
Have a career and a family, yes, 
but do it as a couple — make it a 
team effort. Work toward shar- 
ing the responsibilities of profes- 
sional, home, and community 
Ufe. I realize it's easier said than 
done. But that's the message I 
was trying to get across." 

Whiteman's energetic, uplift- 

ing, participatory style revital- 
ized the community. During the 
75'" Anniversary Campaign, 
Sweet Briar alumnae set a 
national record, reaching the 
highest level of participation 
ever achieved by a women's col- 
lege. The original campaign goal 
of $10 million was exceeded by 
$1.2 million in cash and pledges. 
When Whiteman retired in 1983, 
the Generations Campaign, 
begun in 1980, had already 
reached three-fourths of its 
$12.1 million goal. 

Big projects like the Benedict 
renovation. Prothro Natatorium. 
Prothro Commons, and the 
Pannell Gallery renovation were 
completed or near completion at 
the end of President Whiteman's 
administration. Other smaller 
projects like the Virginia Center 
for the Creative Arts (VCCA), 
the Sweet Briar Museum, and 
the Sweet Briar Outdoor 
Program (SWEBOP) have flour- 
ished and continue to enrich 

campus life. The "most wired" 
status the College enjoys today 
is traceable back to 1981 when 
Sweet Briar purchased and 
installed a DEC-2040 main- 
frame in the library's "new" 
computer center. Another often- 
overlooked achievement: the 
financial aid office was estab- 
lished as a separate entity during 
the Whiteman years. By the 
beginning of the 1980s, one- 
quarter of the student body was 
receiving tuition assistance and 
Sweet Briar had achieved its 
enrollment goal of 750 students. 

And who knows, sooner or 
later the College may decide it's 
finally time to go into the 
Chapel to rearrange those pews. 

^^uiiOmXkmv, OhMA 

"Iff i^mi' hcwtr WA cMh^ 
ta^ t®- kM/^w msHe^, ^ul- 
imA' UioP uwA' iiuOn/t teoMi/ 
tnow>Jv On/ Vi»i^ ^^iAh' 
'i^eoM' heM', them/ i^»iA/ hwi/ 
kmIIa^ Hajwid a/^wt(P 
l3*Uafv ed>MMtii9/n/." 

March 2001 • 



By Mary Molyneux Abrams "86 

't was the first week of the fall semester. 

The phone was ringing — a seemingly non- 

.stop occurrence in the dean's office during 
September. The caller was the anxious mother 
of a first-year student, expressing concern over 
her daughter's well-being. She wanted to speak 
directly to Bea Patt, dean of the College. 

Bea listened and assured the woman that 
her daughter would live to tell the story of her 
first week of classes. Relieved, the mother 
ended the conversation saying, "Now, take care 
of my little girl for me, won't you?" 

"No," replied Bea. "I'm sorry. She'll have 
to learn to take care of herself" 

Fannie Zollicoffer '80 performs 

th& ti/m& 9H', wsH^, t^ kill UAn(/i taMM pHfoMXw^. 

Dean Beatrice Palt 

From 1977 through Bea's 
retirement in 1982, any 
Sweet Briar student (or 
parent of a student) who ques- 
tioned the capacity of women to 
succeed in college, in careers, 
and in life would have such 
doubts abiTjptly challenged and, 
if all went according to plan, 
thoroughly eradicated in the 
dean's office. 

"Today," says Bea, "students 
anive at Sweet Briar expecting 
to be independent, to think for 
themselves, to be their 'own 
woman." That's the emphasis 
now. It's taken for granted." 

Students in the late seventies 
and early eighties were still 
adjusting to a dazzling array of 
new opportunities. Admissions 
materials touted "self confi- 
dence" and preparation for "real- 
ity" as one of the key benefits of 
a Sweet Briar education. The 
Office of Career Planning was 
beginning to expand and add 
personnel. Graduates who chose 
fields like finance and law were 
applauded for breaking into 
"male domains." Alumnae 
returned to campus to provide 
tips on how to effectively "jug- 
gle" career and family respon- 

"I never doubted the value 
of single-sex institutions," 
says Bea. "I was educated in 
women's colleges and I 
have mourned the passing 
of most of them." Coming 
to Sweet Briar gave her a 
unique opportunity to see 

what she could do. "I was struck 
by the feel of the place." Bea 
remembers. "The people and the 
setting seemed so right." 

Of all the changes that took 
place during her tenure. Bea 
highlights the Turning Point 
Program for nontraditional-age 
students as one of the College's 
most significant achievements. 

"The program." says Bea, 
"was close to my heart. Many of 
the first students were house- 
wives who otherwise would not 
have had the opportunity to 
attend a first-rate liberal arts 
institution. It changed their lives 
and it was good for us too. It 
allowed the College to reach out 
and establish new ties with the 
surrounding community, and it 
diversified our student popula- 

Though Bea thoroughly 

backed the Turning Point 


she gives Bob Barlow, dean of 
student affairs from 1977-1995. 
full credit for implementing the 
idea. "He had more to do with it 
than anyone else," recalls Bea. 
"It was his baby in a lot of 

Often, when Bea thinks of 
the College, she thinks of the 
late Dick Rowland. Sweet 
Briar's Charles A. Dana 
Professor of English. "To me," 
says Bea, "he represented what 
Sweet Briar was all about. He 
was intellectual. He was curious. 
But he never took himself seri- 
ously. He was never pompous, 
which I really loved. Many peo- 
ple with his Oxonian back- 
ground would be just the oppo- 
site, very standoffish. I never 
sensed anything like that about 
Dick. He was egalitarian. He 
had a spiritual nobility. 

"Dick was thoroughly devot- 
ed to the College and I found 
that so admirable, especially 
because he was 
equally as devot- 
ed to his family. 
He was well bal- 
anced - always at 
ease with himself I 
looked forward to 
our chats, which is 
really how I got to 
know him. He'd just 
drop in." 

Robert Shaw at Sweet Briar 

Robert Shaw: 
Founders' Day Speaker 
in 1983 

The great Robert Shaw's 
very serious address ("Each of 
us is a Founder"), delivered 
with ameliorating humor and 
memorable anecdotes, charmed 
the Founders' Day gathering in 
Babcock October 9, 1983. His 
wife, Caroline Sauls Shaw '58, 
was in the audience. 


Professors Hapola, Edwards, Gilpatrick, Miller, Aiken, Oliver, and Armstrong occupy the front row at 
Commencement 1990. 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 


"enah E. Fry. Sweet 
Briar's seventh presi- 
dent, oversaw many 
changes during her tenure 
(1983-1990). The admissions 
program received special atten- 
tion to ensure the College's posi- 
tion as a highly selective, 
nationally-recognized liberal arts 

Nenah Fry at Commencement 

college for women. To this end, 
the Office of Admissions moved 
into a newly-renovated building 
(formerly known as Hill House) 
and developed new admissions 
programs and publications. 

•"Women's colleges are not 
designed for everyone," cau- 
tioned President Fry. "they are 
for young women who want to 
take charge of their own agen- 

Under President Fry's direc- 
tion, the College initiated a 
process of strategic planning, in 

which the mission and goals of 
the College were defined and a 
strategic plan established. 

"We have affirmed the mis- 
sion of the College to prepare 
women for the challenges of the 
2 1 St Century." said President 
Fry. In keeping with this 
forward-looking objective. 
Sweet Briar's program develop- 
ment emphasized women's roles 
in a global and technological 

The College added Junior 
Year programs to its distin- 
guished Junior Year in France, at 
the University of Seville in 
Spain, at Royal Holloway 
College and Bedford New 
College at the University of 
London, and at St. Hilda's and 
St. Hugh's College at Oxford 
University. At the same time, 
two interdisciplinary areas of 
study. Latin American Studies 
and European Civilization, were 
added to the curriculum. 

As part of the academic 
emphasis under President Fr>'. 
the College greatly increased 
student and faculty access to 
personal computers with new or 
augmented facilities, including 
the Woody Learning Center The 
faculty approved expanding 
SBC's innovative Honors 
Program for first-year students 
and sophomores. In addition, the 
Management Program became 
increasingly sophisticated, with 
certificates offered in Arts 
Management, General Business 
Management, and Public 


Under President Fry's leader- 
ship, the Bachelor of Science 
degree was reintroduced and 
plans were drawn for the reno- 
vation of Guion. The College 
initiated programs to encourage 
high school girls, especially 
minorities, to smdy mathematics 
and science. 

President Fry drew special 
attention to the quality of cam- 
pus life. At the time of her 
retirement, a total of five resi- 
dence halls were in the process 
of being restored. Other capital 
projects included the first wing 
of the Florence Elston Inn. pro- 
viding attractive and comfort- 
able accommodations for cam- 
pus visitors. 

An eloquent public speaker. 
President Fry rallied the com- 
munity in support of the 
College's immediate and long- 
term goals. During her seven 
years in Sweet Briar House, the 
endowment grew significantly, 
from S24 million to $-U million. 

Time has not lessened the 
community's esteem for Nenah 
Fry. As the College's strategic 
planning efforts gradually shift- 
ed from the planning phase to 
implementation in the 1990s, the 
scope and accuracy of her 21st 
Century vision became increas- 
ingly clear. 

Sadly, she did not live to see 
the College boldly enter the new 
millennium. She died of heart 
failure in April 1995 at the age 
of 62. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams "86 

President Nenah E. Fry 
excelled at the job of pub- 
lic speaking. At her 
farewell dinner in the spring of 
1990. Milan Hapala, Carter 
Glass Professor of Government, 
deemed President Fry "a master 
of language. As a speaker she is 
unsurpassed. I listened to her 
many times with admiration and 
a little envy mixed with anxiety, 
as I had to follow her on the 
speaker's platform, realizing that 
I could not match her eloquence. 
Nenah has stated the case for 
women's education with rigor- 
ous logic, a graceful style of 
expression, and compelling clar- 
ity. No one could escape her 
enthusiasm for the College and 
its mission." 

Following Professor Hapala's 
lead, Nannette McBumey 
Crowdus '57, then president of 
the Alumnae Association, 
described President Fry as the 
"Voice of Sweet Briar." She 
went on to announce the estab- 
lishment of the Nenah Fry 
Lectureship in Public Speaking, 
a course underwritten by the 
Alumnae Association in recogni- 

tion of the president's superb 
communication skills. 

Everyone was in awe of 
Nenah Fry's gift. But until 
Professor Kay Macdonald stum- 
bled across one of the presi- 
dent's earliest speeches, no one 
realized that she had truly spent 
a lifetime articulating her com- 
mitment to academic excellence. 

Katherine Macdonald, 
Professor Emerita, taught in the 
Physical Education Department 
at Sweet Briar for 35 years. 
After her retirement in 1983, she 
remained on campus for several 
years and redirected her bound- 
less energy to serve the commu- 
nity in many ways. A self- 
described "girl scout," Kay was 
the first to offer assistance when 
recently-retired President Fry 
needed help closing her family 
home in Chicago. 

Kay went straight to work, 
assisting with the clearing and 
packing. In the process, she 
stumbled across something that 
elevated her already-high opin- 
ion of the president. "I read 
Nenah's high school valedictory 
speech, detailing her deep 

understanding and great respect 
for education," recalls Kay. "It 
was all right there — everything 
Nenah stood for and cherished 
was in that speech. I realized 
that, starting at a very young 
age, she was determined to dedi- 
cate not just part of her life, but 
her whole life to furthering the 
ideas and values of education. 

"I had always been 
impressed with Nenah's accom- 
plishments. She earned her mas- 
ter's degree and her doctorate in 
European history from Yale. I 
knew that some of the students 
she taught early in her career at 
Wilson College still called on 
her for advice and support. As 
dean of the college at Wells and 
as president of Sweet Briar, she 
proved to be an effective, 
forward-looking leader and an 
outstanding spokesperson for 
women's education. Even so, I 
wasn't aware of the depth of her 
commitment until I read her 
valedictory speech. It put every- 
thing in perspective." 

the/ "^wteP /^"Uo^ 

wi^ 19^0 daMwutU: 

Y-oM- theAe/; UiU' v^ 
KfjffluM/ im/ wA^ WffJ9^ 

ini^cM'tnln^ i^OAvkeM', 

l^iM^eM-, m»th(M, and' 
\rsli/mle,eM' tcdHwsfuimMhC/. 
^wuP lotion' hM ^Mjpni/ 

(^uwt^4Al ca/mfuM'. 

— }ilijth yn^wnuh t^a/iy^M' '80 

March 2001 • 


•Ctepsinging 1988-^ 



Victor Henningsen 

Member, Board of Directors 1974-1984 

Chairman of the Board 1980-1984 

There were many highlights and significant milestones 
that were meaningful during my tenure on the Board 
of Overseers and Directors and during my term as 
chairman. To name a few: the success of the 
Generations Campaign, the opening of the Pannell 
Art Gallery; the Presidential Search and inauguration 
of Nenah Fry. 

Add to that the excellence of the Board, and the facul- 
ty and administration and their ability to work posi- 
tively, successfully, and unselfishly for the greater 
good of Sweet Briar. 

I have had the privilege of serving on and chairing 
other boards, but none that gave me greater pleasure 
and satisfaction than to be a port of the Sweet Briar 

To come in close contact and to work with the alum- 
nae of this college, whose loyalty and devotion to 
Sweet Briar is extraordinary, is not only an inspiration 
but a privilege of the highest order. 

There was no sucin thing as 
a personal computer 
when Barbara Blair, dean 
enierita (1974-1978) and profes- 
sor of chemistry emerita (1 96 1 - 
1993). arrived on campus at the 
start of the sixties. The Connie 
M. Guion Science Building did 
not exist. The notion that stu- 
dents would be using instru- 
ments like lasers in routine lab 
assignments was in the realm of 
science fiction. Equally unimag- 
inable was the idea that, in the 
near future, most young women 
would be entering Sweet Briar 
to prepare for graduate school 
and careers. 

Enonnous changes took 
place during Barbara's 32 years 
of administrating and teaching. 
The computerization of the cam- 
pus, "hands-on" science educa- 
tion, the changing role of 
women in the workplace — all of 
these advances began to emerge, 
develop, and converge in excit- 
ing ways. 

"We held classes in Guion in 
the fall of 1965." remembers 
Barbara. "Better facilities for 
teaching and research enabled us 
to attract additional, highly- 
qualified faculty, which in turn 
drew increasing numbers of seri- 
ous science students. And things 
kept snowballing from there. 
For example, in the 1980s, a 
combination of College support 
and National Science 
Foundation grants allowed us to 
acquire state-of-the-art instru- 
mentation, opening new possi- 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

bilities for faculty and student 
research. In addition, as sophis- 
ticated instruments became com- 
puterized and easier to work 
with, their use became common- 
place — especially in the small 
classes at Sweet Briar. 

"Of course, at the same time, 
opportunities for women in the 
sciences and other professions 
were increasing. Not only were 
we enrolling serious science stu- 
dents, we were developing an 
excellent record of sending them 
on to continue their educations 
at the best medical and graduate 

Though Barbara's teaching 
was based in Guion, she is quick 
to point out that similar "snow- 
balling" achievements took 
place in disciplines across the 
campus. "Many areas — not just 
the sciences — were enhanced by 
new facilities," says Barbara. 
"Renovating the old Refectory 
into the Pannell Gallery centered 
the art history department and 
served as an impetus to get the 
innovative Arts Management 
Program going. Building the 
Prothro Natatorium was a great 
step forward, giving Sweet Briar 
a chance to introduce swimming 
as a team sport. We'd always 
had great success in the Riding 
Program. The pool gave stu- 
dents another way to excel in 
intercollegiate competition." 

A biochemist by training, 
Barbara's diverse research inter- 
ests carried her and her students 
into areas ranging from recom- 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

El Warner and her staff work on the Sweet Briar News, 1 985 

binant DNA technology, to toxi- 
cology, to nuclear weapons and 
aims control. On the administra- 
tive side, in addition to serving 
as dean of the College for three 
years and assistant academic 
dean part-time for five years, she 
chaired the chemistry depart- 
ment three times and headed 
several of the College's major 
committees during her tenure. 

Of all the decisions the 
College made to meet the needs 
of young women in rapidly 
changing times. Barbara ranks 
internships among the most 
forward-looking and practical. 
"The 4-1-4 calendar we instimt- 
ed in the seventies," says 
Barbara, "allowed smdents to 
arrange internships both during 
the summer and the Winter 
Term. I think Sweet Briar was a 
little ahead of its time, giving 
students academic credit for 
those types of experiences. And 
now, even though the 4-1-4 cal- 
endar is gone, the internship pro- 
gram has remained an important 
option for students." 

Like internships, student 
research opportunities expanded 
during the seventies and kept 
growing, "increasing a good bit 
every year." According to 

Barbara, "In the sciences these 
days, research requires proper 
instrumentation. To be 'on the 
edge.' students need access to 
computers, instruments, and pro- 
fessors during the academic year 
and for summer research. In the 
1960s and 1970s, we always had 
a few students who were inter- 
ested in pursuing special proj- 
ects. By the time I retired, sci- 
ence students were coming to 
Sweet Briar expecting to be 
involved in some form of new 
and exciting research." 

Cecilia Moore '88 

• The integration of SBC in the '60s and Marshalyn 
Yeargin-Allsopp '68: o very, very important part of 
our history 

• The loss of the dairy and the cows: Vi^e really do 
miss the dairy cows 

• The Big Bear Mountain Mission 

• The Honor Code 

• The Junior Year in France, Spain, and other Junior 
Year Abroad programs 

• Winter Term 

• The end of the senior comprehensive requirement 
when I was a freshman 

• Professors Armstrong and Garner of the Religion 
Department: they brought in renowned religious 
studies scholars and theologians as speakers 

• Professor Edwards and his bird-watch walks, and 
The Nature Sanctuary 

• Mrs. Reid and Mrs. Jordan in the Library 

• Mr. Fitts in the Book Shop 

• Addie Martin who worked for many, many years in 
the dining hall: She really brightened the days for 
many people at SBC 

A fire in 1 979 destroyed the mansion at Mt. St. Angelo which 
housed the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The VCCA 
has since built a new facility on the property. 

March 2001 




Isabel Allende 

The Festival on India, held during the month of 
October and sponsored by the Lectures Committee, was 
supported in part by a grant from the Sue Reid Slaughter 

The Writers Series brings distinguished writers to 
campus to read from their works. This 
year's writers: Ellen Bryant Voigt; Paule 
Marshall; Nikki Giovanni (Black History 
Month); Stanley Elkins; Stephen Dobyns. 

Winter Term Film Series: eleven 
films were shown during January as part 
of the Winter Term program. 

To celebrate Black History 
Month, Nikki Giovanni, writer, poet, 
consultant, recording artist, journalist, 
and lecturer came to campus February 
6th to read her poetry. 

The Evsrald Scholars Program, 
"Women in Public Leadership," 
was funded in part by Sue Reid 
Slaughter. Speakers were: Isabel 
Allende, "An Evening in the House of 
the Spirits", Maureen Reagan, "Women 
and Public Leadership", and Shirley 
Chisholm, "Of Course, Women Dare." 

In An Evening v/ith Jerome 
Mines, the Metropolitan Opera star, 
accompanied by a 28-piece orchestra, 
sang a repertoire of operatic arias in 
Lynchburg on April 15th. The Sue Reid 
Slaughter Fund supported this in connec- 
tion with the VCCA and the Lynchburg 
Bicentennial events. 

The AAimi Garrard Dance 
Company, which performed on cam- 
pus in April, is nationally known as one 
of the most important and innovative 
dance companies in the United States. 
Mimi is SBC '58. 

The fund helped to bring the 
Angelic Choraleers, a group of 35 
singers, in May for a Saturday evening 
concert and special Chapel service on 
Jerome Mines Sunday morning. 

Alkiureen Reagan 


Shiriey Chisholm 

Robert H. Barlow, 
Dean of Student Affairs 

By Julia Sadler de Coligny '34 
Excerpted from the Spring 1986 
Alumnae Magazine 

In the midst of derogatory 
comments and condemnations 
of habits and actions of college 
students nationally, especially in 
their nonclassroom life, it is a 
pleasure to note a very positive 
and special contribution being 
made by Sweet Briar student 
volunteers. SBC students in 
December completed the ninth 
semester of volunteer tutoring in 
the five elementary schools of 
Amherst County. This project is 
sponsored by the Church and 
Chapel Committee with Dean of 
Student Affairs Robert H. 
Barlow as coordinator and is 
open to anyone who has the 
desire and aptitude for helping 
young children gain a firmer 
footing in their education. 

In order for the undertai<ing 
to be successful, there must be 
coordination of efforts between 
school principals, classroom 
teachers, and the student affairs 
office and, most of all. the 
pupils and college students 
themselves. This is one project 
from which it is difficult to 
know who derives the greatest 
benefits: the teachers are eager 
to cooperate, the pupils blossom 
with the individual attention, the 
tutors gain a sense of real worth 
and the administrators are 

extremely grateful. 

When the program began in 
September 1 98 1 there were only 
eight timid but courageous vol- 
unteers. In the last four years the 
average number has been 
between 25 and 32. Schedules 
are worked out at the beginning 
of each semester (Winter Term 
excluded); tutors make an eight- 
week commitment to go to a 
certain school for two hours a 
week. Once the schedule is set, 
it is sacrosanct and cannot be 
varied: tutors must be faithful to 
their commitments. Most often 
they go in groups of six in a col- 
lege van, but some work it into 
their schedules by using their 
own cars. 

After choosing the school 
and the time, tutors check in 
with their principals for an ori- 
entation session. Next they meet 
the classroom teachers who pro- 
vide a list of pupils who need 
help in a given area. Sometimes 
they work in the classroom with 
the whole class; other times the 
tutor and the individual pupil or 
small group of children work in 
chairs in the hall at the class- 
room door The good news is 
that it is working well. 

It is exciting to see these 
efforts of involvement in county 
education being skillfully 
maneuvered between college 
and school administrations and 
to offer kudos instead of criti- 
cism to "this college genera- 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

The Sv^eet Briar College Columbarium 

By Kay Macdonald, Professor of Physical Education Emerita 



Tfie Reverend Susan Lehman, Chaplain, Sweet Briar College 
Excerpted from the Fall / 989 Alumnae Magazine 

In the spring of 1988 the Chapel Guild (Chaplain Susan Lehman, choir; Jocelyn 
Palmer Connors '62; Anne de Coligny Davis; Professor Aileen Loing '57; Kay 
Macdonald; Cornelia Perkins Zinsser '52) met in response to community interest in 
having a columbarium at Sweet Briar, The Guild investigated laws and cost of inter- 
ment of ashes compared with burial (which was not on alternative here). The site 
unanimously selected was Monument Hill. At the fall meeting of the Boards of 
Directors and Overseers, the Guild's recommendation to establish a columbarium was 

Donations to a columbarium fund, particularly those in memory of Jeanette "Dan" 
Boone '27, enabled the Guild to engage Mr. Jack Rinehart, Fellow of the American 
Institute of Architects and a member of the "Sweet Briar family" to design the colum- 
barium. He had recently completed such a project for the University of Virginia 
Cemetery. Mr. Rinehart is the father of Brooke '88, brother-in-law of Mary Cosby 
Rinehart '61 , and nephew of Torrance Redd Rinehart '22 and Hathaway Wright 
Rinehart '22. 

In his plan proposal, he wrote, "With the grave site of Daisy Williams as its nucleus 
and focal point, a columbarium is proposed to be added at the base of the old 
Williams family cemetery on Monument Hill at Sweet Briar College. Radiating like 
sound waves or ripples from a stone thrown into a pool of water, terraces are to be 
placed around the old round cemetery in seven sectors. The area with the wonderful 
view of Sweet Briar's campus is to remain a large open, grassy space for individuals 
to enjoy the view or for groups to gather." In conclusion Mr. Rinehart wrote, "Though 
subordinate to the historic old cemetery, it actually radiates out into the academic 
community, creating continuity of the past with the present, thus suggesting that this 
whole monument might become o monument to life." 

The plan called for one sector at a time to be phased in, each sector providing 48 
spaces in-ground and 32 niches in the low walls that surround each terrace. New sec- 
tors will be added as sufficient reservations ore received. Alumnae and present stu- 
dents, faculty, staff, and Board members and their immediate families (spouse, par- 
ents, children) may make use of this facility. The Chaplain, in consultation with the 
Chapel Guild, determines questions of eligibility. 

Spaces may be reserved in advance of need by payment of the specified fee, with 
selection of a space within a completed sector. It is possible to have two interments in 
one space if desired; each space is designed to hold two urns. 

It is comforting to me to look upward to the green slope of Monument Hill and to 
know that one day I will be enfolded in its beauty. 

1988 Ewald Scholars 
Program Featured Elie 
Wiesel: "Clinging to 

Elie Wiesel, winner of the 
1986 Nobel Peace Prize, the 
Congressional Gold Medal of 
Achievement, author of 30 
books. Holocaust survivor 
spoke to an overflow audience 
in Babcock Auditorium on 
March 17, 1988. 

Mark and Ella Hanson 
Magruder '75 perform (and 
teach) at Sweet Briar 

March 2001 



President Fry shaking hands with Gary Pannell; Clifton Pannell in 

Before and after: 

at right, the 

Refectory during 


below. Gallery of 

the Anne Gary 

Pannell Center 

Excerpted from the Winter 1985 issue of the Alumnae Magazine 

The first weekend of October. 1985 was one of celebration. It 
marked the successful conclusion of the Generations 
Campaign which raised a total of $15,200,000. surpassing the 
$12,100,000 goal. 

Close to 500 alumnae and friends were on campus for part or all 
of the program, which began Friday morning with guests attending 
classes and visiting faculty and staff, as well as places of interest on 
campus. The focus of the afternoon was the dedication of the 
Refectory as the Anne Gary Pannell Center, which houses the long- 
awaited art gallery and the art library, the studio art department, and 
faculty offices. Sara Shallenberger Brown "32 was the main speaker 
for the dedication. 

That night, members of The Boxwood Circle, The Presidents 
Circle, and The Indiana Fletcher Williams Associates gathered for 
cocktails in the Boxwood Circle and a black-tie dinner in Prothro 
Dining Room. 

Following a panel by students and faculty members on Saturday 
morning, the group set out for Charlottesville. They visited 
Oakencroft wineries at the invitation of Felicia and John Rogan, 
then proceeded to Monticello, famous home of Thomas Jefferson, 
for a private tour. Kitchie Roseberry Ewald Tolleson "52 and her 
husband, Roy, hosted a cocktail party at their home, Verulam, and 
the evening ended with dinner at the Boar"s Head Inn. 

Sunday morning the group visited Poplar Forest, a small home 
outside Lynchburg built by Mr. Jefferson as a summer retreat. 

The weekend was declared a tremendous success by all who 

1981 installation of computers 
into the Tri-College Computer 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae 
Magazine Centennial Issue 

Front: Gordon and Florence Elsfon Beemer 

Bock: Elizabeth Bond Wood '34, Edith Durrell Marshall '21 

By Martha Mansfield Clement "48 
Excerpted from Fall 1986 Alumnae Magazine 

The west parlor of Sweet Briar House was the scene on 
Thursday evening. May 22. 1986 of a very special occasion! 
Florence Woelfel Elston, Class of 1921. of Chicago, Illinois and 
Gordon Beemer of Crawfordsville, Indiana were united in mai- 
riage by Chaplain Susan C. Lehman. 

Florence and Gordon had decided to get married but had not 
determined where the ceremony would take place. The ring had 
been purchased in Palm Beach. Florida and the groom said he was 
"tired of carrying it around." Once they knew they were coming to 
Sweet Briar for Florence's 65th Reunion, they decided to combine 
these two very important events. 

When Gordon called to inquire about getting a wedding license, 
he discovered that the only requirement is $20 if both bride and 
groom are from out-of-state and over 1 8 years of age. Gordon was 
intrigued. He concluded that the blood test is not required in 
Virginia because "they're all blue bloods." 

Edith Durrell Marshall "21 arrived early for Reunion also and 
was one of the invited guests to the ceremony. Perhaps Edith and 
Betty Morris Coleman '21 were thinking during Reunion, 
"Wedding bells are breaking up this ole gang of mine." 

The Adult Education/Degree Program Begun in 1 980 

by Caroline Bloy 

Fall 1982 Alumnae Magazine 

"An unexpected phenomenon is taking place at Sweet Briar 
College. Springing up from behind boxwood and dogwood, 
armed with black notebooks and pencil boxes, dres.sed in the 
usual college fashion, is a bevy of aspiring, mature women, curi- 
ous and eager to see what higher education at Sweet Briar 
College is all about. Most are married, most have children, most 
have encouraging and supportive husbands, and initially all were 

m^mk. ni-^^^mtm 

T~ ' -miL 

1 1 

' «?.'"r«¥tB «WVlTi 

^^^■^'1. TMfnT' 



"■■ "■■ 

-: - TSTT I 

1980 NOW Convention 

'J)tdiXAXi&^ (9^ the/ T-to^WYu:^/ 
tUtmv IwYv: y^OA^ xs, 1999 

One of the happiest highlights of Reunion '88 occurred on 
Saturday afternoon with the dedication of the new Florence 
Elston Inn, which opened for visitors in April. 

Set in a wooded area off the main drive just before the 
Wailes Center, the Inn with its brick facade and off-white uim is 
designed to be consistent with Sweet Briar's traditional archi- 
tecture. In addition to the 1 2 bedrooms, no two of which are 
identical, there is a large octagonal-shaped reception room 
which features a fireplace with a beautiful handmade cherry 
mantelpiece, above which hangs a portrait of Mrs. Florence 
Elston Beemer. The Alumnae Association commissioned Tom 
and Russell Burford to make the furnishings and mantelpiece 
for this room. Among the pieces are a hunt board, butler's tray, 
coffee table, and two Hepplewhite-style end tables. The room 
and adjoining spacious deck which overlooks the woods behind 
the Inn will be used for receptions, meetings, and parties. 



March 2001 • 



By Mary Molyneux Abrams "86 

Dr. Barbara Ann Hill, Sweet Briar's 
eighth president, was inaugurated in 
October 1990. The keynote speaker 
at the event was Dr. Mary S. Metz, president 
emerita of Mills College in Oakland, 
California. Mills had made national headlines 
earlier that year when students, alumnae, and 
friends of the women's college persuaded its 
board of trustees to rescind their decision to 
transform Mills into a coeducational institution. 
It was a stunning reversal. After 20 years of 
watching women's colleges coeducate or close, 
proponents of single-sex education were stand- 
ing up and saying "no more." 

^c ^ -*^i >^^fe 

?* A 

It 4iifl 


Board Chairman Walter Brov/n and Barbara Hill at Kickoff 
Weekend for "The Campaign for Sweet Briar College," 
Richmond, Fall 1992 

/iwe^t- t^HcOv wetnim/ wh^- hM/ '^tMu4/ wiMwn/ the/ thauUtvsncd/ 
lU^eAal oM^i Uwrv wtmt^ »n/ 1«^ ds- ^<MCvnaXvn/^ thunM- — UumM' 
UiMi' hcuC ru^ Ue^o t/ie/u/ weHc/ phcpoM/nA' t^ (Os- a^ti^ cMiAo. 

President Metz's presence 
made President Hill's 
inauguration into a larger, 
collective celebration, affirming 
the \ alue and relevancy of 
women's education at the start 
of the 1990s and beyond. 
Afterward, for the first two 
years of her presidency. Hill 
continued the celebration, carry- 
ing the good news about 
women's education out to Sweet 
Briar alumnae, college coun- 
selors, and the general public. 
President Hill covered 30 
cities in 24 months, traveling 
with then Director of 
Admissions Nancy Church and 
two consecutive directors of the 
Alumnae Association, Ann 
Reams and Louise Zingaro. The 
events, called FOCUS, consisted 
of meetings with alumnae 
groups (often including current 
and prospective students in the 
area), breakfasts with high 
school representatives, and 
speaking engagements ranging 
from, rotary clubs to radio talk 

"The FOCUS 'road show' 
had a good, strong message," 
says Hill, "that women's educa- 
tion was alive, and well, and 
worth supporting. I spoke about 
the reasons why I came to 
Sweet Briar: a distinguished fac- 
ulty from the best institutions 
who selected the College 
because they wanted to make 
teaching a priority: a variety of 
students who wanted superior 
research, leadership, and tra\el 

opportunities; and a strong tradi- 
tion of alumnae interest and 

"A specific feamre of the 
College that impressed me at the 
time was the Honors Program. 
Before I arrived, I had just fin- 
ished researching a piece on 
honors programs for a major 
journal, and I realized how intel- 
ligently Sweet Briar's program 
was structured. In addition, the 
sciences were being strength- 
ened in sound and creative 
ways. It was exciting to carry 
the campus, with all its great 
traditions and innovations, out 
into the world for other people 
to see. We weren't celebrating 
the past, but an ongoing mis- 
sion. We were celebrating conti- 

President Hill traveled from 
Massachusetts to California, 
meeting thousands of alumnae 
along the way. "It was always 
surprising," remembers Hill, 
"meeting generations of Sweet 
Briar women who had studied 
within the traditional liberal arts, 
then went on to do fascinating 
things — things they had no idea 
they were preparing to do after 

"The late Ann Upchurch '48 
was a good example. She was a 
religion major who became a 
successful rancher. One after- 
noon, after bouncing across the 
fields in an old station wagon, 
she invited me back to her love- 
ly home in Birmingham. There, 
while tourina me through the 

house, Ann opened the door to 
what I assumed was a large 
closet. It turned out to be a com- 
puter room, where she had been 
busy creating a database to track 
the bloodlines of all of the cattle 
in her herd. I believe she was in 
her sixties at that point, and 
there she was, mastering this 
powerful new tool. 

"Ann understood that her 
ability was something Sweet 
Briar gave her. not in terms of 
the specific knowledge needed 
to use a computer, but in terms 
of the broader skill set and atti- 
tude required to take on new 
challenges. She had a great 
sense of her own power, of her 
ability to accomphsh things. 
And that's what FOCUS was all 

Deedie Barricks 

Deedie Kirkendall 
Barricks '25, class 
secretary, acknowl- 
edges applause at 
1990 Reunion 
The Class of 1925 was 
well represented for its 
65th Reunion by Deedie 
Kirkendall Barricks who, 
upon being applauded by 
the Reunion Convocation 
audience, drew a second 
round of delighted 
applause by observing: "I 
finally understand the here- 
after; it's when I find myself 
somewhere and think, 'I'm 
in this room but I don't 
know what I'm here after!' " 

March 2001 



The 1993 Ewald 
Scholars Program: 
"American Indian 

The 1993 Ewald Scholars 
Program was one of the 
most successful ever, 
drawing more than 1 ,000 peo- 
ple to Sweet Briar for three 
days in April. The participants 
themselves praised the gather- 
ing of such a large group of 
notable leaders in one place. 
Wilma Mankilier, Principal 
Chief of the Cherokee Nation 
and the program's keynote 
speaker, emphasized this point: 
"For months I've been looking 
forward to this. It's one of the 
highlights of my spring."' 

The program's timeliness 
reflects the Ewald Committee's 
recognition that 1993. designat- 
ed as the United Nations' Year 

Members of the Great American Dancers at Sweet Briar, as they 
appeared on the Summer 1 993 cover of the Alumnae Magazine. 

Wilma Mankilier, Principal Chief 
of the Cherokee Nation 

of the Indigenous People, is 
intended to encourage world- 
wide recognition of native peo- 
ples, who have been subjected to 
war, famine, environmental 
destruction, and genocide. In the 
Americas, the American Indians 
have survived 500 years of 
European domination, which has 
drastically affected their ways of 

The American Indian voice, 
in literature and the arts, in polit- 
ical life and contemporary socie- 
ty, will play an important and 
vital role in shaping American 
society in the next century. 
"American Indian Visions" 
explored the means by which 
American Indian leaders and 
their people can preserve, foster, 
and promote their cultural her- 
itage, while addressing the social 
and political realities of contem- 

porary Indian life. 

Through art, dance and musi- 
cal performances — vital compo- 
nents of contemporary American 
Indian culture — and in panel dis- 
cussions and lectures, partici- 
pants addressed critical issues 
facing American Indians today, 
including environmental destruc- 
tion, land return and treaty 
rights, cultural property, and 
tribal sovereignty. 

The Great American Indian 
Dancers opened the program 
with a stunning performance to a 
standing-room-only crowd in 
Babcock Auditorium. The 
dancers weave dances and songs 
with humorous stories to retlect 
a wide range of American Indian 
traditions from the southwest to 
the Great Lakes woodlands, 
from the Rocky Mountains to 
southeast Alaska. While at 

Sweet Briar, the company gave 
a special performance for area 

In her keynote speech, 
Wilma Mankilier told of facing 
prejudice in her lifetime — more 
of it as a woman in a position of 
power than as a Native 
American. She recalled that one 
young man she met at an 
unnamed eastern college 
remarked that since "chief is a 
male title, he perhaps should 
address her as "chiefess" or 
"chiefette." Later, the same man 
asked how she got her name, 
Mankilier She replied that it is 
a nickname and she'd earned it. 

She spoke of her mission of 
rebuilding the Cherokee Nation. 
Long before the invasion of 
America by European colonists, 
the Cherokees had a govern- 
ment, school system, even a 
constitution. "Our people need 
to understand our history and 
who they are before they can 
pick up the pieces and rebuild," 
she said. Wilma Mankilier wants 
her people to become self- 
sufficient again. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Other 1993 Ewald Scholars 
speakers, artistS/ and performers: 

N. Scolt Momaday, nationolly recognized poet, prose writer, and painter " 
whose works reflect his Kiowa heritage. Author of the Pulitzer prize-winning i 
novel House Made of Dawn, The Way to Rainy Mountain, Tne Names: A I 
Memoir, The Gourd Dancer, Angle or Geese and Other Poems, and The 3 
Ancient Child. 

Leslie Silko of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, New Mexico. Acclaimed author 
of Laguna Woman, Ceremony, Storyteller, and Almanac of the Dead. Her 
mony awards include a Pushcart Prize, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, 
and a Lib Wallace Reader's Digest Writer's Award. 

Chariotte Black Elk, an Oglola Lokoto Sioux, lives on the Pine Ridge 
Reservation. Secretary of the Black Hills Steering Committee, which is 
involved in a lobby for land return. Molecular biologist, participates in 
many environmental and political activities. 

Martin Brokenleg, Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Chair, Sociology Department, 
Augustono College. Teaches Native American studies and cross<ultural 
communicotions. Was director of a Neighborhood Youth Corps, and a 
counselor in alcohol treatment programs. A graduate of the Episcopal 
Divinity School, Cambridge, Massochussetts, has served os chaplain in a 
correctional setting. Consultant to educational and treatment programs for 
Indian children; author of several books, including coouthoring Reclaiming 
Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future (] 990) with Lorry K. Brendtro and 
Steve Van Bockem. 

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Flathead Tribe, Montana; now lives in New 
Mexico. Activist, environmentalist. Artist whose art draws from other Native 
American painters who, she soys, seem to hove a unique way of looking at 
the landscape. Art degrees from the University of New Mexico and 
Frominghom State College; lectures at institutions across the country and 

Phyllis Hicks, Tribal Representative for the Monacan Tribe of Virginia, Inc. 
Official speaker for the tribe. Treasurer, lay reader, vestry member for St. 
Paul's Mission, Amherst, Virginia. 

Raymond Adams, Chief Emeritus, Upper Mottoponi Tribe of King 
William, Virginia. Chairman, United Indians of Virginia. 

Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation. 
Spokesman for the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Teaches in American 
Studies Program, State University of New York, Buffalo. Writes and illus- 
trates children's books, and books about the environment. Represented the 
Onondaga Nation as on "unaligned nation" in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Roger Anyon, Director of the Zuni Archaeology Program, New Mexico. 
Responsible since 1985 for administering approximately $4.8 million in 
gronts and controcts for the Zuni Tribe. 

Kevin Locke, Lakota Sioux of Standing Rock Reservation, South Dokota. 
Renowned artist, educator, flutist, and hoop dancer. One of only 1 3 

imericons awarded a Notional Heritage Fellowship. Has mastered two 
koto language dialects. Service to the goal of unifying humanity through 

in appreciation of diversity. 

S>veet Briar Establishes First Women's College 
Chapter Of Pre-Lavs^ Fraternity 

Sweet Briar is the first women's college in the country to estab- 
lish a pre-law chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. 
Nineteen students were inducted on February 8th. 1995. 

Founded in 1902, Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) is the wodd's largest 
legal fraternity. Its goals are to advance ideals of liberty and equal 
justice under the law; to inspire the virtues of compassion and 
courage among attorneys; and to foster integrity and professional 
competence among its members. 

Membership is composed of law student members, pre-law 
members, practicing attorneys, legal educators, leading jurists, and 
prominent elected officials. Nearly one in every six attorneys in the 
United States is a member of PAD. The organization is unique in 
that it accepts undergraduate pre-law students into its ranks. 

Faculty sponsors: Dr. Barbara Perry and Dr Stephen Bragaw, 
SBC Department of Government. 

Alice Walker's Ewald Visit 
to Campus 

Her fans were here to greet 
Pulitzer Prize-winning author {The 
Color Purple] Alice Walker on 
March 22, 1 996. College offi- 
cials believe that the almost 
1 ,000 people who turned out for 
her program may have been a 
record crowd for a single schol- 
arly event at Sweet Briar. Walker 
was the lecturer in the 1996 
Ewald Scholars Program. 

Alice Walker talks with students 
at an informal question and 
answer session in the Pannell 
Art Gallery 

March 2001 



Mary Low^ Taylor Boxwood Terrace Garden lllustroiion by landscape architect Mack Bnmijoin 








When the Campaign 
books were closed on 
June 30. Campaign 
Chairman Alice Cary Farmer 
Brown '59 jubilantly announced 
that Campaign efforts had pro- 
duced an overwhelming success, 
with the final figures totaling 
$38.5 million, exceeding the 
goal by $3.5 million. It was time 
to celebrate! 

The Campaign's success was 
applauded "at home" on cam- 
pus, where everyone could see 
firsthand many Campaign gifts 
at work, as well as take part in 
two dedications made possible 
through Campaign gifts. The 
College invited guests to relax in 
the mid-September ambience of 
"A Weekend in the Country." 
And so. Sweet Briar family 
members gathered together to 
enjoy a memorable, one-of-a- 
kind experience. 

The weekend festivities were 
officially opened with Friday 
afternoon's dedication of the 
Heuer Auditorium in the Guion 
Science Center, endowed by 
Charlotte Heuer de Serio '57, in 
memory of her parents. 

As well as providing an 
opportunity to view Campaign- 
enhanced facilities, the weekend 
included tours and entertainment 
at nearby sites of historical sig- 


Saturday morning was devot- 
ed to "Alumnae College" ses- 
sions led by Sweet Briar faculty 
members. Dr. Aileen Laing '57, 
professor of art history, deliv- 
ered a slide presentation and lec- 
ture on Sweet Briar's architec- 
ture to a large, appreciative audi- 
ence. The second Aluinnae 
College presentation featured 
two professors from the English 
and Creative Writing 
Department, who read from their 
works. Pulitzer Prize and 
National Book Award winner 
Mary Oliver read from her col- 
lections of poetry, and John 
Gregory Brown, the first profes- 
sor to hold the Julia Jackson 
Nichols Chair in English and 
Creative Writing, read from his 
widely acclaimed first novel. 
Decorations in a Ruined 

The highlight of the weekend 
was the Saturday night black-tie 
Grand Finale Campaign 
Celebration Dinner, held in the 
College's main dining room, 
which had been transformed into 
a French country village, its 
focal point a "village square"-a 
tent frame strung with multicol- 
ored lights Cocktails were 
served in an auxiliary dining 
room, a perfect setting with its 

lovely French doors and win- 
dows. An area normally used for 
the food service line was 
changed into a gallery display of 
25 original oil paintings of the 
French countryside by alumna 
artist Jill Steenhuis Ruffato '80, 
who lives and paints in 
Provence. The most unequivocal 
success of the celebration was 
the gourmet feast prepared by 
Max Suhner. Executive Chef of 
the United Nations. 

Following Sunday's special 
chapel service of thanksgiving, 
everyone gathered for the dedi- 
cation of the Mary Law Taylor 
('43) Boxwood Terrace Garden, 
the gift of Stuart S. Taylor in 
memory of his wife, a Master 
Gardener A new door in the east 
parlor of Sweet Briar House 
leads immediately onto the 
beautiful garden, which is adja- 
cent to Daisy's Garden. As part 
of Stuart Taylor's gift, Daisy's 
Garden was restored, lending 
additional meaning to a very 
touching dedication ceremony. 

The celebration was truly a 
family affair, with every compo- 
nent of the Sweet Briar family — 
students, faculty, staff, alumnae, 
trustees, and friends — taking 
part: a thrilling occasion and a 
fitting conclusion to Sweet 
Briar's successful Campaign. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

The Presidential Speakers Series 

Dynamic Trio, l-r: Sandra Taylor '74, keynote speaker; Charna 
Manning '90, Unity Club president; Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, first 
recipient of the Black Sv^eet Briar Woman of the Year Award. 

First Annual Conference/Reunion of Dynamic 
Black Sweet Briar Women 

Excerpted from the Full 1990 issue of the Alumnae Magazine 

The Sweet Briar College 
Unity Club, under the 
leadership of President 
Charna Manning '90, sponsored 
the first two-day Conference of 
Dynamic Black Sweet Briar 
Women on Saturday and 
Sunday, February 24-25. 1990, 
in conjunction with Black 
History Month. Twenty alumnae 
from across the country, repre- 
senting the classes of 1968- 
1989. returned to campus for the 
event. Highlights of the program 
included the Saturday welcome 
and luncheon, an afternoon 
panel discussion (panelists were 
Dr Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp '68, 
Julia Carter '89, Sandra Taylor '74, 
Paula Lee '89, Patricia Pauling 
'86, Cee Cee Smith '77, Lisa 
Redd-Toliver '86), and Saturday 
evening's semiformal dinner 
banquet in the Boxwood Room 
of the Wailes Center A Sunday 
morning worship service in the 
Chapel was followed by a 
luncheon at the home of SBC's 
Chaplain Susan Lehman. The 
Sunday service featured the 
choir from The First Baptist 
Church in Lynchburg, a solo 

by Marsha Taylor- Delain "76 
and closing prayer by Cecilia 
Moore '88. The offering was 
donated to the United Negro 
College Fund. 

Saturday evening's dinner 
banquet, at which Sandra Taylor 
was keynote speaker, concluded 
with the presentation of the first 
Black Sweet Briar Woman of 
the Year Award. The recipient 
was Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin- 
Allsopp. medical epidemiolo- 
gist. Division of Birth Defects 
and Developmental Disabilities 
at the Centers for Disease 
Control in Atlanta. 

Congratulations to our first 
Black Sweet Briar Woman of 
the Year! 

The Unit}- Club is a student 
organization which promotes 
interracial and intercollegiate 
social, cultural, and educational 
programs. It is a founding mem- 
ber of the Black Students 
Alliance of Central Virginia 
(BSACVA). sponsoring numer- 
ous campus events throughout 
the academic year. 

The Sweet Brio 
inaugurated during the 1 993 spring semester, repre- 
^sented an exciting addition to the intellectual life of the 
Jbampus, challenging students and faculty alike to 
reflect on the vital roles being played by women. The 
series grew out of President Barbara Hill's interest in 
providing a forum for the Sweet Briar community, espe- 
cially the students, to explore the many challenges and 
opportunities available to women today. 

|The distinguished speakers who came to campus dur- 
ling the series were: 

Dr. Belle Wheelan, president of Central Virginia 
Community College; 

The Honorable Dale Hutter Harris '53, chief judge. 
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, 24th District; 

Patricia Smith Ticer '55, Mayor of Alexandria, 

V/ilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation; 

Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), and 

pAnn Richards, Governor of Texas. 

All had made notable contributions to the public life of 
their communities. They represented a range of promi- 
nence, from those well-known locally, to those known 
statewide, and in the cose of Congresswoman 
Schroeder and Governor Richards, nationally and inter- 
nationally known figures. Each speaker told her own 
story of being drawn to public life, described the chal- 
lenges and rewards of such a life, and addressed 
those issues closest to her heart. 

President Hill with Congresswoman Pot Schroeder, Mayor Pot 
Smith Ticer '55 and Judge Dale Hutter Harris '53 

March 2001 • 


Stmi^ktfrom th Gray mm. 

■flWCC^rf ♦<;« fri'ffl in lf#c tjf/UHl^TU dCClM'fii Of/ltf$f^ I 77\J lAAUC C/f* 

the Alumnae Magazine 

Thanks to Archie Waldron, SBC's director of food services 
[now director of auxiliary services], Sv^eet Briar nov^f has its ov/n 
house wine, which will be served at College functions and may be 
bought at the Bistro by those over 2 1 . Made from Virginia-grown 
grapes and bottled in Virginia, the wine comes in three varieties: 
a red table wine, a white table wine and a Chardonnay, all bear- 
ing distinctive pink and green Sweet Briar labels. 

Archie "thought a house wine would odd a touch of elegance 
and be a conversation piece at Sweet Briar functions." He took his 
idea to the senior staff, which enthusiastically held on informal 
wine tasting at Sweet Briar House in January '89. The group pro- 
nounced one wine in each category superior; plans for making ■ 
the wine available under Sweet Briar's private label were begun. 

Catherine Bost, assistant director of public relations [now direc- 
tor of publications, public relations office], designed the labels, 
which feature a stylized Sweet Briar Rose for the table wines and 
Sweet Briar House for the Chardonnay. 

The wine is produced in Culpepper by Dominion Wine Cellars, 
a winery established by a cooperative of 15 Virginia grape grow- 
ers. "The white table wine has a tad of sweetness to it," according 
to Dominion's representative, Carl Hilscher. "It's a medium-bodied 
wine with a citrus-fruity taste, and is made predominantly from 
Chardonnay grapes. The Chardonnay is pure Chardonnay 
grapes — dry, lighter, and fruitier than the white table wine. The 
red table variety is medium-bodied with a complex arrangement ol 
flavors, dry with a bouquet of cassis fruit and cherries, with cinnch 
mon in the background." 

White Oak Woods 

A World-class Ecology Laboratory 


By Ernest P. Edwards 
Dorys McConnell Duberg 
Professor of Ecology Emeritus 
Excerpted from the Summer 
1992 issue of the Alumnae 

"This is the best White Oak 
community seen in the 
Piedmont." according to distin- 
guished University of North 
Carolina botany professor A. E. 
Radford, who has studied hun- 
dreds of the outstanding natural 
areas from Maryland through 
South Carolina. (Recall that the 
Piedmont Region is a broad belt 
of land extending from Maine to 
Georgia between the Coastal 
Plain and the Appalachian 
Mountain chain.) 

Michael Godfrey, author of -4 
Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide 
to the Piedmont, concurs, writ- 
ing (p. 379), "It is said to be the 
best-developed tract of its kind 
in the Piedmont." Equally 
enthusiastic is The Audubon 
Society Guide to the Natural 
Places of the Mid-Atlantic 
States: Inland (pp. 137-139), 
selecting it as one of the 1 22 
outstanding natural sites from 
New York state to Virginia. Only 
three other college- or university- 
related natural areas are selected 
for inclusion, those of Rutgers. 
Princeton, and the University of 
Virginia — and only Sweet 
Briar's natural area joins the 
main campus. 

These superlatives apply to 
( 1 ) the Carry Nature Sanctuary 

Old-Growth Forest (on the right- 
hand side and part of the left- 
hand side of the entrance road as 
you go toward Highway 29) and 
(2) the Constitution Oaks (on 
the left side of Old Stable Road 
as you go toward the Farmhouse 
and the old stables). A smaller 
tract, the Boone-Prior Nature 
Sanctuary, behind Guion 
Science Building, is also a fine 
example of old-growth White 
Oak forest, though not contigu- 
ous to the other tracts. This area 
is said to have been the woodlot 
for firewood for Sweet Briar 
House, and includes two springs 
which were undoubtedly used as 
a domestic water supply many 
years ago. 

Scattered large White Oaks 
have persisted outside of old- 
growth forest at Sweet Briar. 
among them the Westchester 
Oak in second-growth woods 
near the Green Bam; this is 
Sweet Briar's largest and oldest 
White Oak. nearly 1 5 feet in cir- 
cumference and more than 1 25 
feet tall, probably 500 years old 
or more, and in good health. 

But it is the intact old-growth 
forest, in the three aieas men- 
tioned above, with its rich com- 
bination of large and small trees, 
shrubs, spring wildflowers, 
insects, birds, and mammals, 
which puts Sweet Briar in a 
class virtually by itself in regard 
to facilities for the study of ecol- 

Fortunately, for some reason 
these unique educational facili- 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

ties were not destroyed when so 
much of the land was cleared for 
farming in the late 1 600s to 
early 1 800s, long before the 
founding of a college was con- 
templated. Perhaps in the earlier 
years some parts of the forest 
were too steep or rocky. Later, 
in the mid-to-late 1 800s, they 
may have been preserved 
because of their proximity to the 
plantation house and other prin- 
cipal dwellings, to be used for 
very selective cutting of fire- 
wood for heating and cooking. 
Perhaps a major objective was 
protection of the watershed of 
springs which arose in these 
forests, providing sources of 
water for the plantation. Still 
later, in the very early 19G0s, the 
early years of the College, infor- 
mal protection was continued, 
possibly partly because spring 
water and firewood were still 
used in many of the homes on 
campus, and partly because 
there was no need for additional 

Then in 1936 the College's 
third president, Meta Glass, set 
the stage for more formal pro- 
tection of some of these forests 
by arranging for the establish- 
ment of the Charles William 
Carry Nature Sanctuary, with 
financial support from the 
parents of Margaret Carry 
Durland '35, as a memorial to 
their son. 

Nature sanctuaries of any 
kind were largely unknown at 
that time, especially on college 

Ernest P. Edwards 

campuses, and the concept of 
the Carry Nature Sanctuary was 
even farther ahead of its time in 
that it was designated not only 
to establish a specific portion of 
the campus woodlands as a 
nature sanctuary, but also to 
encourage good conservation 
practices in all of the College's 
operations, from classroom to 
dormitory to fami to forest man- 
agement. (Much later the United 
Nations applied this same con- 
cept on a much larger scale 
when it established Biosphere 
Reserves, such as the Virginia 
Coast Reserve, which incorpo- 
rates not only sanctuaries, but 
also working farms, private 
homes, and public beaches as 

Soon after the Carry Nature 
Sanctuary was established, a 
specific area on the slopes of 
Monument Hill was temporarily 
designated as a nature preserve, 
but after a number of years of 
evaluation of various sites, the 
old-growth forest along the 
south side of the entrance road 
was designated in 1958 (by then 
President Anne Gary Pannell) as 
the first pennanent nature pre- 
serve of the Carry Nature 
Sanctuary. It soon became 
famous, along with some nearby 
((/jprotected forest, as the Sweet 
Briar College White Oaks 
Woods. Laboratory exercises 
and student research projects 
gradually resulted in a wealth of 
knowledge about life in a natu- 
ral old-growth forest. 

Alice Cary Farmer Brown 
and Walter Brown at 
Richmond Campaign 
Kiclcoff Weekend 

When I Think About S>veet Briar... 

by Walter Brown H '49 

When I think about Sweet 
Briar. I dwell primarily on my 
time as chairman of the 
Board, fellow members, and 
my relationship with the pres- 
idents of the College. 

Both Nenah Fry and 
Barbara Hill were articulate 
managers and accomplished 
what they were asked to do. 
One always has regrets: I am 
sorry not to have served with 
Harold Whiteman and Betsy 
Muhlenfeld, one long tenured 
and the other with a great 
opportunity for longevity in 
the position. 

There were many great 
moments to treasure; two 
stand out. I will never forget 
the marvelous party in the 
Richmond Art Museum when 
we honored the indefatigable 
Alice Cary Farmer Brown '59, 
chair of The Campaign for 
Sweet Briar College, Sweet 
Briar's largest capital cam- 
paign up to that time. She 
was always on top of events 
with great charm and delight- 
ful good spirits. The other 
party was given me on my 
retirement from the Board. I 
felt a wonderful outpouring 
of affection and friendship 
from so many members of the 
faculty, staff, and the Board 
of Directors. 

I developed fine relation- 
ships with eariier chairmen, 
Charles Prothro, Wilson 

Newman. Bruce Bredin, 
Victor Henningsen and Wrede 
Petersmeyer, all of whom 
were very helpful with their 
sage advice. 

The choice of Sara Lycett 
to take over for me and to be 
the first female chairman was 
highly gratifying. She has 
done a magnificent job in 
bringing us into the new mil- 

We had a lot of tough 
decisions to make as a Board, 
but I will only mention one. It 
was at a time when the 
College was suffering from a 
decline in admissions, as 
were most all women's col- 
leges. Happily, Sweet Briar 
had a relatively strong finan- 
cial position, which allowed 
us to increase our admissions 
standards rather than lower- 
ing them, on the theory that 
bright students attract other 
blight students. 

One of my greatest regrets 
was the need to sell Sweet 
Briar's beautiful herd of dairy 
cows. My partner in crime 
was the great Tom Connors, a 
former vice president and 
treasurer, I don't know about 
him, but this was the only 
time I got hate mail and irate 
telephone calls. We also got 
into hot water when we went 
through the process of trim- 
ming the boxwood around 
Daisy's monument! 

March 2001 • 


Jack Matlock January 8, 1992 

Jack Matlock at Sweet Briar 

Former U.S. Ambassador to 
the Soviet Union Jock Matlock 
was the kickoff speaker for 
SBC's 1 992 Winter Forums. 
His address, "Break-up and 
Reunification in the Soviet 
Union," drew a standing- 
room-only crowd of nearly 

Jessica Lang talks 

with stucients 

during her 

January 1994 

visit to campus 

lake Osinga '78 at the dairy where she operated a yoghurt business in the 1 980s 

Sweet Briar Dairy Closes 

Date: Summer 1994 
To: The Sweet Briar Family 
From: Barbara A. Hill. 
President. Sweet Briar College 

During its spring meetings April 21-23. Sweet 
Briar's Board of Directors voted to allow our col- 
lege farm to phase out its dairy operations. 

This action comes as a result of a yearlong 
study of the dairy, initiated in March 1993 by our 
farm manager. Kyle Leonard. Mr. Leonard, a 
graduate of the Dairy Management Program at 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg. 
raised concerns about new environmental direc- 
tives that would ultimately affect Sweet Briar's 
dairy, primarily because of its physical location in 
a small valley above a stream. 

After seeking advice from the State Extension 
Service, the Soil Conservation Service, and a team 
of experts from the Dairy Management Program at 
Virginia Tech. and hearing their recommendations, 

our Board of Directors considered the possibility 
of renovating the dairy or relocating it to another 
part of Sweet Briar's 3,300 acre campus, but the 
expense of either of those options would be pro- 

As environmental regulations become more 
and more strict, the expense of compliance has 
resulted in dairy fanners across the country mak- 
ing similar decisions. In fact. Sweet Briar's dairy 
is the only one still in operation in Amherst and 
Nelson counties. A State Extension Service meet- 
ing last month in Harrisonburg drew more than 
200 concerned dairy farmers from across the state 
to discuss these issues. 

Historically, dairies were located near streams 
as a way to make use of the water for cooling the 
milk, cleaning the milking parlor, and for water 
for the cows. In recent years, environmental agen- 
cies have focused on dairies' locations as an envi- 
ronmental concern. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

By Ann Marshall Whitley "47 

Excerpted from Spring 1996 Alumnae Magazine 

It did not come in like fog on little cat feet on January 6. It 
came like long dark snakes sneaking through an azure blue sky 
from the west, pulling behind an immense gray cloud that in 
minutes blotted out the sun. Then minute flakes of snow glued 
themselves to everything in their path. There was no evidence of 
wind: the world was just suddenly dark and ominously silent. 
The snow fell hour after hour, becoming a thick, e\'en blanket 
covering the tans and browns of winter. 

Most of us were prepared for an eight-to-ten-inch snowfall 
by the media forecasters, but when day faded into night the 
snow continued piling, building, sculpting, obscuring evei^thing 
in an unrecognizable landscape from some dream world. 

By morning January 7, my van had disappeared into a mar- 
vel of line and curve like a long elegant igloo. There was no 
question of digging out to go anywhere, as the snow continued 
to drift down for several days. The newscasters called the storni 
a disaster of major proportions for the East Coast and also the 
great storm of our century. It took three days for a snowplow to 
find my road and then it only managed to plow one lane. 
Nothing moved. We had over two feet of snow. 

Sweet Briar was closed. This is a very rare occurrence, but 
the ground crews had tons of snow to clear before anyone could 
enter or leave campus. The smdents had a full week of holi- 
day — a time to remember! 

Sara Finnegan Lycett '61: Chairman-Elect of 
S>veet Briar's Board of Directors 

Excerpted from "In the Spotlight. " Winter '95 Alumnae Magazine 

^^^^^^^^^^^^H ^^ ara Finnegan Lycett was named 
^^^^^^^^^^^^H ^W chaimian-elect of the Sweet Briar 
^^^V^ i^^^l ''^-^ Board of Directors, effective 

^^^P ''l^^^l imnT^diately, on November 19, 1994. 

^^^A, ^^^^H She will be the first woman to head the 

^^^V ^^^^1 Board, assuming the chairmanship July 

^^ Y^ 1, 1995. 

I ' Sara received her B.A. in English 
^. from Sweet Briar in 1961. and a Master 

of Liberal Arts in History from Johns 
Hopkins University in 1965. She also attended the Executive 
Program of the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business 
AdminisU-ation at the University of Virginia in 1977. 

Her career has been in medical publishing, most recently as pres- 
ident of the Professional and Reference Group at Williams and 
Wilkins Company in Baltimore. MD. She assumed the presidency in 
1988. after sen'ing seven years as president of the Book Division of 
the company. According to the company's press release at the time 
of her promotion. "Throughout this period, she has been actively 
involved in lecturing at various publishing and medical societies, 
and has been responsible for the publication of many medical books 
which have become classics in their respective fields." Associated 
with Williams and Wilkins from 1965 until her retirement in the 
summer of 1994. she is the author of numerous publications, and 
has presented papers both in the United States and abroad. 

She has served as director and secretary of the Passano 
Foundation, an international society which awards research grants 
each year to outstanding medical researchers. Her hobbies include 
service as a docent at The Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. 

Elected to the Board in 1987, she has served as chairman of the 
Marketing Committee, Presidential Performance Committee, and 
Investments. Finance and Audit Committee, and as a member of the 
Development Committee and Executive Committee. During the 
Campaign for Sweet Briar College, she was a member of the 
Science Initiative Committee. 

March 2001 • www.alumnae.sbc-edu 


Reprinted fiom the Winter 1995 Alumnae Magazine 

U.S. News & World 

In its annual America's Best 
Colleges issue, dated September 
25,1994. the newsweekly maga- 
zine once again lists Sweet Briar 
as the top-ranked women's col- 
lege in Virginia in the "national 
liberal arts college" category. 
This category includes institu- 
tions that draw their students 
from a national pool, are highly 
selective in admissions, empha- 
size and award more than 40 
percent of their degrees in the 
liberal arts, and provide superior 
academic experiences for the 
academically ambitious student. 

Sweet Briar is listed in "Tier 
Two," those schools ranked 
between 41st and 80th of the 
164 colleges in this category. 
The only Virginia school ranked 
higher than Sweet Briar is 
Washington & Lee. Hampden- 
Sydney. Hollins. Randolph- 
Macon Woman's College and 
VMI are in "Tier Three." 

U.S. News measures student 
selectivity, faculty resources, 
financial resources, graduation 
rate, alumni satisfaction, and a 
college's reputation among other 
colleges' administrators to cal- 
culate its rank. 
MONEY Magazine's 
Guide: The Best College 
Buys Nov^ 

Sweet Briar College is one of 
Money magazine's 100 "best 
college buys in the nation," 
based on educational quality in 
relation to cost. SBC is 31st on 

Money 's list, released September 
6. 1994. Of the 10 women's col- 
leges on Money's list, SBC is 
second. Of Money 's 20 best val- 
ues among small liberal arts col- 
leges. Sweet Briar is ninth. In 
the Mid- Atlantic region. Money 
ranks Sweet Briar sixth. Among 
Virginia colleges, only 
Washington & Lee is ranked 
above Sweet Briar. 

To rank America's 100 best 
colleges, Money analyzed 16 
measures of educational quality, 
including entrance exam results. 
faculty resources and deploy- 
ment, library resources, instruc- 
tional and student services 
budgets, four-as well as five-or 
six-year graduation rates, and 
default ratios on graduates' stu- 
dent loans. Then the magazine 
compared those data with each 
college's tuition and fees to 
arrive at a value rating. 
The Fiske Guide to 

Sweet Briar receives three 
stars for its academics and four 
stars for its quality of life in the 
1994 edition of The Fiske 
Guide. The guidebook says that 
Sweet Briar "is committed to a 
quality liberal arts education" 
and that "Sweet Briar has found 
a way to pursue the goals of the 
1990s career woman without 
shedding the trappings of tradi- 
tional women's education." It 
quotes students as saying; 

"I have had the opportunity 
to live and grow in an environ- 
ment where I am more than a 

number, and where I matter as a 

"You work because profes- 
sors are friends who really 
believe in you. and you don't 
want to disappoint them." 
Peterson's Competitive 
Guide to the Colleges 

Sweet Briar is profiled as 
one of the nation's best 300 col- 
leges in the 1995 edition of 
Peterson 's Competitive Guide to 
the Colleges. 

"We do not approach the 
identification of [these 300] col- 
leges through sets of external 
characteristics, as we do not 
believe that the inherent defini- 
tion of quality lies in endow- 
ments or faculty/student ratios," 
the guidebook editors explain. 
"Rather, we believe that the 
selection of the group we con- 
sider competitive should be 
based on the quality of the stu- 
dent body, with data about class 
size, majors, and endowments 
affixed to the identified colleges 
for contrast and comparison." 
The Student Access 
Guide to the Best 306 

For the third year in a row. 
students ranked Sweet Briar 
College among the best of 306 
top colleges in the country, 
according to a survey of 48,000 
students nationwide for the 1995 
edition of The Student Access 
Guide to the Best 306 Colleges, 
released in September, 1994. 

Students rated Sweet Briar 
among the top 20 colleges in 

each of the following categories: 

Academics: "Professors 
Bring Material to Life" (third); 
"Professors Make Themselves 
accessible" (fourth) 

Quality of Life: "Great 
Food" (first); "Dorms Like 
Palaces" (first); "The Best 
Quality of Life" (fifth); 
"Beautiful Campus" (sixth); 
"Happy Students" (sixth). 

Administration: "Students 
Happy with Financial Aid" 
(fourth); "Things Run 
Smoothly" (sixth). 

Sweet Briar students also are 
quoted as saying: 

"The women here are serious 
about their studies and their 
future careers." 

"Professors take both a pro- 
fessional and a personal interest 
in the students and concentrate 
on their teaching." 

"At Sweet Briar, a student's 
opportunities are endless, rang- 
ing from one-on-one attention 
she receives from professors, to 
the small classes, to going 
abroad to study for a semester 
or year, to doing an internship in 
your field of study." 

"The dining hall has first- 
class five-star chefs." 
"The international 50" 

Sweet Briar remains one of 
the "International 50." which 
refers to an elite group of pri- 
vate colleges noted for overall 
contributions to international 
affairs, the quality of interna- 
tional programs, and the number 
of students who attain advanced 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

degrees in international studies 
or a foreign language. 
Parade Magazine 

News of The Student Access 
Guide to the Best 306 Colleges 
rankings was picked up by the 
Sunday. September 18, 1994 
Parade Magazine in Parade 's 
special "Intelligence Report" 
The Yale Insider's Guide 

The Yale Insider 's Guide 
notes that Sweet Briar provides 
students "opportunities for lead- 
ership, for exploration, and for 
learning about themselves as 

Barron's Best Buys in 
College Education 

The fall 1994 edition of 
Barron 's Best Buys in College 
Education lists Sweet Briar 
among the 299 colleges that 
"provide the best education 
for the tuition 

Nevs^s about Sweet Briar's latest vs^ave of high rankings has resulted in 
print and broadcast articles in mass media outlets nationvs^ide, and 
through The Associated Press Nevsfswire to radio and television stations 
statewide. Other positive stories about Svs^eet Briar featured in the news 

President Barbara Hill was featured in a 30-minute interview with Voice of America radio, 

heard by 44 million people around the world. 

Dean of Academic Advising Cynthia Patterson was interviewed about the late Jacqueline 

Onassis by a reporter from The Knight-Ridder Newswire, which resulted in stories in the Detroit 

Free Press, the St. Petersburg [FL] Times, the Orange County [CA] Register, and a live interview 

with KOA radio in Denver. 

Professor John Goulde was quoted in a page one story about North Korea in the Christian 

Science Monitor and was interviewed live on The Associated Press Radio Network. 

Professor Mike Richards' op-ed pieces about elections in Mexico ran in the Houston Chronicle 

and in the national Journal of Commerce, and he was interviewed live on KOA radio in Denver 

and WOIA radio in San Antonio. 

Maurine Harrison, director of the Sweet Briar College Campus Lab School, wrote an article 

about back-to-school tips for parents that ran on The Associated Press Newswire, resulting in 

stories in the Los Angeles Times, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and 143 other newspapers 


Sweet Briar's 1994 Commencement address by Callie Khouri was featured on the NBC Nightly 

News with Tom Brokaw. 

The October 1994 issue of Glamour magazine quoted first-year student Caroline 
Sinkinson of Akron, OH on why she chose to attend a women's college: "I knew that at a 

women's college, I'd be more apt to play sports. Sweet 
Briar has more sports for women, like lacrosse and 

field hockey, than my high school had. The major- 
ity of my friends who go to coed colleges 

don't play sports. It's almost a stigma for 

Reviews in dozens of 
newspapers nationwide, includ- 
ing The New York Times Book 
Review and the Washington Post, 
of English and Creative Writing 
Professor John Gregory Brown's first 
novel have praised and celebrated his 
work. These reviews follow on the heels of 
similar extensive publicity over the last two 
years about the work of English and Creative 
Writing Professor Mary Oliver, whose poetry 
has won both a Pulitzer Prize and the National 
Book Award. 

March 2001 • 


Sweet Briar welcomed Dr. 
Elisabeth Showalter Muhlenfeld 
as its ninth president in August 
1996. Previously, President 
Muhlenfeld was dean of under- 
graduate studies at The Florida 
State University in Tallahassee. 

She had served Florida State 
since 1978, as assistant, associ- 
ate, and full professor of 
English: as director of graduate 
and undergraduate studies, asso- 
ciate chairman of the 
Department of English, and 

chairman of the FSU Faculty 
Senate's Undergraduate Policy 
Council. As founding dean of 
undergraduate studies in 1984, 
she became responsible for all 
university-wide academic 
requirements, including the 
Liberal Studies Program, the 
academic progress of 8,000 
lower-division students, aca- 
demic advising, the University 
Honors Program, minority aca- 
demic programs, academic sup- 
port services for student ath- 
letes, the Center for Retention 
and Academic Support, and the 
offices of admissions, registrar, 
and financial aid. Throughout 
her administrative service. Dr. 
Muhlenfeld continued to teach 
one or more courses each year 
in American literature and 
Southern literature, to direct 
honors and master theses and 
doctoral dissertations, and to 
serve on graduate committees. 

She received a B.A. in 
Philosophy from Goucher 
College in 1966 and her mas- 
ter's in English from the 
University of Texas at Ariington 
in 1973. Concentrating on 
Southern literature for her doc- 
toral studies, she received a 
Ph.D. in English from the 
University of South Carolina in 

She is the author of four 
books, including a biography of 
Mary Boykin Chesnut, a work 
on Chesnut's novels, and an 
edition of Chesnut's original 
diaries, co-edited with historian 

Sara Finnegan Lycett '61 
bestows Presidential Medal 
at President Muhlenfeld's 

C. Vann Woodward. Mary 
Boykin Chesnut: A Biography 
was nominated for various 
prizes, among them the Pulitzer, 
and was selected by Choice 
magazine as an "outstanding 
academic book." In Fall 1992 
the biography was reprinted in 
paperback, the first of several 
reprintings. Dn Muhlenfeld also 
edited a critical work on 
William Faulkner's Absalom. 

An active member of the 
Modem Language Association, 
the South Atlantic Modem 
Language Association, the 
American Literature 
Association, and the Society for 
the Study of Southern 
Literature, she is a fellow of the 
St. George Tucker Society, and 
has served as secretary/treasurer 
of the William Faulkner 
Society, as president of the FSU 
chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, as 
member of the Commission on 
Non-Professional Legal Studies 
of the American Bar 
Association, and on the 
Executive Committee of the 
Board of Governors of the 
Hardee Center for Women in 
Hicher Education. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams "86 " 

Excerpted from Winter 1999 Alumnae Magazine 

In May 1998, after two and a 
half years of intense 
research and debate, the 
Sweet Briar faculty passed an 
all-encompassing General 
Education Program. This new 
program — the first major over- 
haul of the curriculum in sever- 
al decades — envisions a Sweet 
Briar education as a seamless 
process, beginning with 
Orientation and continuing 
through the senior year. All stu- 
dents will complete a set of 
requirements that will: 

• ensure the development of 
strong communication and 
quantitative reasoning skills, 

• help students clarify the 
rationale for a strong liberal 
arts background. 

• provide a pattern for the 
acquisition of knowledge 
both in terms of breadth 
(understanding broad areas 
of knowledge) and depth 
(the completion of a major). 

• engage in purposeful experi- 
ences that will enhance their 
formal learning. 

• encourage students to rou- 
tinely assess their progress, 
review their decisions, and 
align their undergraduate 
preparation with future aca- 
demic, career, and life goals. 
If the points listed above 

look familiar, it is because 
Sweet Briar's mission to pro- 
vide the best possible liberal 
arts education for young 
women has not changed. What 
is new is the way these objec- 

tives are expressed and imple- 
mented across the curriculum. 

Starting this year, faculty 
throughout the disciplines are 
emphasizing writing, oral com- 
munication, and quantitative 
reasoning skills at every level. 
The Class of 2002 and every 
class to follow will be required 
to take skill-intensive courses, 
not only as first-year students, 
but on into their majors. 

Dr. Alix Ingber. associate 
dean of academic affairs and 
professor of Spanish, describes 
the new skills initiative as being 
"more intentional." While com- 
munication and analytical skills 
have always been important 
components of a Sweet Briar 
education, a consistent 
approach was not guaranteed 
under the old requirements. 

Self- Assessment 

In the swirl of college life, 
it is easy — sometimes neces- 
sary — to focus exclusively on 
the tasks at hand. Papers, 
exams, presentations, labs, 
meetings, lectures, and special 
events leave little time to reflect 
on accomplishments or to con- 
template long-term goals. This 
is why Sweet Briar's new 
General Education Program 
includes a self-assessment com- 
ponent for smdents. It's not just 
a good idea to think about your 
personal development; it's 

During Orientation, fresh- 
men write the first of three 

essays outlining their interests, 
proficiencies, and educational 
objectives. They write a similar 
essay in the middle of their 
sophomore year as part of 
selecting their majors. A third 
and final essay asks seniors to 
evaluate their Sweet Briar expe- 
rience in light of their postgrad- 
uate goals. These confidential, 
upgraded essays help students 
and their advisors devise mean- 
ingful, individualized academic 
programs. This is the most 
immediate application. Self- 
assessment essays are useful in 
dozens of other ways. 

Dean of Co-Curricular Life 
Valdrie Walker's vision takes 
the self-assessment concept a 
step further. She wants to create 
a co-curricular "portfoho" that 
complements each student's 
academic transcript and essays. 
Melissa Henning '99 agrees 
with the value of such an effort. 

"Portfolios will help students 
be even more deliberate about 
what they are getting out of 
their educations," says Melissa. 
"As it develops over four years, 
a portfolio might consist of 
your on-campus work experi- 
ence and volunteer activities. 
Your resume could be added 
along with letters from intern- 
ship supervisors or visiting pro- 
fessors. Things like research or 
wriring samples should be 
included. Instead of scrambling 
to assemble these items at the 
last minute, you'll be building 
them as you go along. You'll 

thjOp I a/nv omalM/UmA' (4- 

"h»w to'" (M»W'i' ml/ ts' 
tnuki/ the/ i^KMvUii^ru. 

March 2001 • 


/Sn/eM' /^iWi/ toM/^ ynt/ 
ita/rUl/U' teoMu/nA' nfM 

Joe Monk conducts a first-year 

leave Sweet Briar with a tangi- 
ble product you can take away 
with you. You'll not only leave 
with a degree, but a portfolio of 

First- Year Seminars, 
Fall 1998 

Don't be fooled by titles like 
"The Making of a Musical." 
"Must See TV?" or "Alien 
Worlds." The 16 first-year sem- 
inars offered this fall were cre- 
ated to function as boot camps 
for the mind, introducing first- 
year students to the rigors of the 
new General Education 

First-year seminars focus on 
the skills and intellectual prac- 
tices promoted at Sweet Briar, 
leaving the faculty free to select 
themes and develop content that 
does not apply toward the com- 
pletion of a major Unhke 
introductory-level courses, 
these seminars do not have to 
cover a prescribed range of 

First- Year Seminars '98: 

Alien Worlds: Fantasy and Reality 

The Art and Science of Dealing with Data 

Contemporary Environmental Issues: Human Dialogue in the 
Natural World 

The Day the Universe Changed 

Decision Making: Its Logic and Practice in Everyday Life 

Diva: The Portrayal of Women in Opera (Seductress, Tragic 
Heroine, Faithful Wife and Lover) 

Global Problems and Politics 

Literature, Culture and Personal Identity 

Love Story 

The Making of a Musical: From a Novel to the Musical Theatre 

Must See TV? The Psychological Effects of Watching Television 

Paris Through the Ages 

Passing the Baton: Historical and Cultural Foundations of 
Women's Sport 

Renaissance Italy 

Today's Ethical Challenges 

Witchcraft, Magic and Religion in Early Modern Europe and 

material. Professors can con- 
centrate on their students" 
speaking, writing, or quantita- 
tive skills — all centered around 
an engaging topic. Though sem- 
inars share a common liberal 
arts perspective, no two are 

New Computer Science 
Major, 1998-99 

Speaking with Bob Chase, pro- 
fessor of mathematical sciences, 
it is no surprise to hear that 
Sweet Briar has an "old girls" 
network established in the rela- 
tively young computer science 
industry. After all. SBC is the 
"most wired" women's college 
in the United States. What is 
amazing, however, is that the 
College did not even offer a 
computer science major until 
this fall. 

"We've had a mathematics 
computer science major in 
place for a number of years," 
explains Professor Chase, 
"These majors have had no dif- 
ficulty landing good jobs with 

starting salaries that continue to 
shock me I Quite a few are in 
positions now where they can 
assist with internships and job 
opportunities. They're very 
generous about it. e-mailing the 
department to let us know that 
they're ready and willing to 
help. Meantime, we've been 
looking forward to building on 
this success with a new. sepa- 
rate computer science major" 

"The demand for information- 
technology workers is incredi- 
ble. Still, we did not want to 
respond to either student 
requests or industry needs by 
offering just any computer sci- 
ence major We wanted to 
ensure that our graduates would 
continue to stand out." 

Preparing for the new major. 
Sweet Briar's department of 
mathematical sciences 
redesigned its entire computer 
science curriculum to empha- 
size "real world" practices. The 
task also involved faculty 
recruitment and retraining. "We 
now have the breadth of cours- 
es and the faculty expertise to 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

New and Revised Computer Science Offerings, 

(Revised) C++ Programming: An introduction to computer 
science and object<3riented programming in C++. Topics 
include data types through arrays, and functions. Structured 
programming, obiect-oriented design, and the testing of pro- 
grams stressed. 

(New) Applications Development: A teom-oriented software 
engineering-based approach to the design and maintenance 
of large practical software projects using a commercial devel- 
opment environment emphasizing component reuse, revision 
control, and test case development. 

(New) Java Programming: Object-oriented programming 
methods for platform-independent applications development 
and World Wide Web (WWW) applet development using the 
Java programming language. 

(Revised) Software Methods: Advanced programming tech- 
niques including object-oriented design and programming, 
recursion, searching and sorting, algorithm development, and 
structured programming. 

(Ne^ Digital Logic: An examination of the underlying comput- 
er hardware including gates, combinational circuits and arith- 
metic and logic circuits, and clock sequential circuits imple- 
menting registers, memory, addressing schemes, and control 

(New) Algorithm Analysis: Rigorous analysis of algorithms 
for searching and sorting, use of data structures such as hash 
tables and binary search trees and techniques such as dynam- 
ic programming and greedy algorithms. Emphasis is on 
asymptotic time and space complexity — best and worst case 
as well as amortized analysis. 

(New) Operating Systems: The software systems which man- 
age computer hardware. Topics include processes, inter- 
process communication, deadlock, memory management, 
swapping, paging, virtual memory, input/output management, 
file systems, protection, security, distributed and multiprocessor 

(New) Topics in Computer Science: Content varies yearly 
Examples include: Using the UNIX operating system; UNIX 
internals; real-time audio and video systems; communications 
networks, programming languages. 

support a pure computer sci- 
ence major."" says Chase. ""This 
is what our students wanted and 
the response has been over- 
whelmingly favorable. We have 
more majors now than ever 

Like all other Sweet Briar 
students, computer science 
majors benefit from small 
classes, access to faculty, inde- 
pendent work, and hands-on 
research. But the working rela- 
tionships these majors form 
with professors may prove to 
be more critical in the short 
term. After all, who do the 

computer experts call when 
they need help? 

"Yes," Professor Chase 
admits, "Fve answered more 
than one panic call. But that's 
standard. No matter how well 
prepared you are, first jobs are 
always a little frightening. Tve 
had graduates tossed — bang! — 
into the middle of huge corpo- 
rate networks. I think just 
knowing that they could call 
made a difference. Sometimes 
you just need someone else to 
confirm what you already 
know. Then, you"re fine." 


An additional celebratory event on Founders' Day 1 997 was 
the dedication of the Campus School's new playground, in loving 
memory of Byrd Stone '56, honoring her dedication to generations 
of Campus School and Sweet Briar College students. The complete 
renovation of the play area and the new equipment were mode 
possible through the gifts of Byrd's classmates, past and present stu- 
dents and their families, and friends. The classes of 1956 and 
1996 were preeminent in making this dream come true. 

March 2001 • 


1999 Reunion Dedication: 
1949's Giving Us Wings 

In the midst of change, one thing never changes: the gener- 
ous nature of Sweet Briar alumnae. Immediately after Reunion 
Convocation, a very special gift from the 50th Reunion Class 
was dedicated. 

A beautiful bronze sculpture entitled Giving Us Wings now 
stands in a new courtyard enclosed by Dew Dormitory. It was 
created by artist/sculptor Ann Henderson Bannard '49, 1991 
Distinguished Alumna Award recipient. 

Giving Us Wings, symbolizing "two hands touching in a 
I nurturing way and ending in a soaring wing" was sculpted in 
Ann's Tucson studio and cast in bronze at the Desert Crucible 
Foundiy there. Where to place the sculpture was of utmost 
importance: the spot chosen is peaceful, away from traffic 
areas. The view from its setting is ideal: in direct sight is 
Monument Hill. The brick courtyard, with a named brick for 

■ each class member, offers a tranquil place for quiet contempla- 

■ tion or welcomes small gatherings. 

"I hope that our class gift of this space, a beginning-to-be- 
I beautiful courtyard to enclose the sculpture, will become a 
place for fun and meditation." Ann Bannard said. "My dream 
is that Giving Us 

Wings will be encour- 
agement and inspira- 
tion to the women in 
generations after us 
who will stand where 
we are standing and 
know that, thanks to 
Sweet Briar, no 
dreams are out of 
reach, and leave this 
campus and fly." 

Giving Us Wings 
was commissioned 
by Catherine 
"Bunny" Bamett 
Brown '49 and hus- 
band Walter, former 
Board of Directors 
chairman and hon- 
orary class member. 
"I see the sculpture as 
also representing 
Sweet Briar friend- 
ships reaching out 
through the years," 

Bunny said. 

Giving Us Wings 

Photo by Yorke Bannord 


Nancy Hall Green '64 
Pledges $5 Million For 
New Campus Center 

Nancy Hall Green of 
Atlanta, a member of 
the College's Board of 
Directors and a longtime volun- 
teer leader, has pledged $5 mil- 

lion as the kickoff gift to build a 
new student center. Her pledge 
was announced at the February 
1999 Board meeting. 

While SBC's recently 
unveiled master plan envisions 
many changes over the next 10- 
20 years, the proposed campus 
center is truly its centerpiece — 
its linchpin — and Nancy's gift 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

heralds the most auspicious 
beginning toward realizing plans 
for this $10 million facility. 

The planning for Nancy's 
gift started more than a year 
ago when she and President 
Muhlenfeld were talking about 

purpose. A campus center that 
incorporates the Book Shop, the 
Post Office, several dining 
options, as well as offices of 
student organizations will facili- 
tate the integration of curricular 
and co-curricular life, increase 

the College's strategic plan. "I 
asked Betsy what her priority 
was and why. Without hesita- 
tion, she said her priority was 
the campus center, that it was 
central to her goal that Sweet 
Briar be a student-centered 
institution where co-curricular 
programs are fully integrated 
into the life of the College and 
where faculty and students have 
multiple opportunities to inter- 
act outside the classroom. 

"When I was a student," 
Nancy recalled, "the Boxwood 
Inn was the place where faculty 
and students met for coffee. 
Today it's the Book Shop, but it 
is totally inadequate for this 

the opportunities for students to 
interact with faculty and with 
each other, and generally great- 
ly enhance the quality of life for 
the entire community." 

A huge 2'x3' thank-you card 
tilled with signatures of hun- 
dreds of SBC community mem- 
bers, with sentiments ranging 
from the simple "thank you" to 
"Nancy, you ROCK!" was pre- 
sented by the students. Nancy 
said, "The smiles on their faces 
are all the thanks I will ever 



Excerpted from the Spring 1999 Alumnae Magazine 
Article by Katie Wright '00, studerit iritem for the magazine 

When Maya Angelou walked onstage November 4, 
1998, to greet an overflow crowd in Babcock, the auditori- 
um swelled with her presence. Just to be in the "live" audi- 
ence was a lucky circumstance: community tickets for the 
event were gone within the hour that they were available. 
Those without tickets watched on closed-circuit TV. Two real- 
ly lucky students won the opportunity to meet end introduce 
her (Twenty applied for the honor.) Kristine Brio '99, 
Stratford, CT and Jennifer Crutcher '99, Palestine, TX were 
selected by the Office of Co-Curricular Life. 

To prepare the campus community, special events were 
held for almost a month prior to her arrival. Speaking of all 
these events, President Muhlenfeld said: "This is a wonder- 
ful example of the way that a single lecture or speaker can 
impact the classroom and activities outside the classroom, 
encouraging students to make connections they might not 
otherwise make." 

Our month of preparation taught us about her heritage, 
her work, her values. We began to know and to appreciate 
her as o remarkable person who represents not only her 
own African-American culture, but speaks for all women 
striving to succeed in a man's world. She left her imprint as 
she urged us to "reach for the rainbow." 

To be in her presence was not only inspirational but an 
experience never to be forgotten. 

L-r: Kristine Brio; Maya Angelou; Jennifer Crutcher 

March 2001 • 



More than 50 Sweet Briar 
faculty members took part in 
a series of three workshops in 
June to learn how to use 
World Wide Web sites in 
their classes. Professors 
learned how to post syllabi 
on the web, administer inter- 
active tests, and use network- 
based communication for dis- 
cussions beyond the class- 
room walls. The professors 
developed more than 60 
web-based classes for use in 
the fall. 

Professor Aileen Laing '57 

enlightens students at an exhibit 

of English Sporting Art 

Sweet Briar College 
Named a Best College 
Value by both Money 
Magazine and U.S. 
News & World Report, 

Reprinted from Summer/Fall 
1997 Ahtmnae Magazine 

National college ranking 
services and guidebooks are 
once again discovering what 
hundreds of young women 
already know — that Sweet Briar 
College is not only one of the 
best higher education choices 
for women today, but also one 
of the best values. Sweet Briar 
placed high in college rankings 
released hy (J. S. News & World 
Report and Money magazines, 
as well as receiving praise from 
satisfied students in The 
Princeton Review's - The Best 
311 Colleges guidebook. 

In the annual U.S. News 
rankings. Sweet Briar was 
placed among the top 82 col- 
leges in the "national liberal 
arts" category. The rankings are 
based on a composite of statis- 
tics which reflect a college's 
academic reputation, retention 
and graduation rates, acceptance 
selectivity, academic profiles of 
admitted first-year students, and 
financial stability. Sweet Briar 
was also named a best value by 
U.S. News, placing 31st among 
all national liberal arts colleges. 

For the third year in a row. 
Sweet Briar has been named one 

of the best 150 college buys in 
the nation, according to Money 
magazine's annual ranking of 
America's top values in four- 
year undergraduate schools. The 
ranking, based on academic 
quality in relation to cost, 
appears in the 1 997 edition of 
the personal-finance monthly's 
special Money Guide: The Best 
College Buys Now. Sweet Briar 
also was ranked as the #2 best 
buy among the four women's 
colleges which made the top 
150, and was the only Virginia 
women's college to do so. 

For the fifth year in a row, 
students at Sweet Briar College 
have ranked their professors and 
school among the best of the 
311 top colleges in the country, 
according to a survey of 56,000 
students conducted by the 
Princeton Review test-coaching 
firm for the 1998 edition of its 
book. The Best 311 Colleges. 

As in the 1993 through 1997 
editions of the book. Sweet 
Briar scored high in areas relat- 
ed to quality of life and the per- 
sonal attention paid students by 
the faculty and administrators, a 
testament to the academic quali- 
ty and strong feeling of commu- 
nity on campus. 

Students rated Sweet Briar 
among the top 20 colleges in 
each of the following categories: 

Quality of Life: "Great food" 
(#6); "Beautiful Campus" (#8); 
"Happy students" (#13): 
"Dorms like palaces" (#10). 

Academics: "Professors 

make themselves accessible" 

Administration: "School mns 
like butter" (#14). 

School by type: "Stone cold 
sober schools (based on a com- 
bination of alcohol and drug 
use, and hours per day study- 
ing)" (#18) 

Sweet Briar students also 
said about the College: "As one 
professor put it: 'For 30 grand a 
year, I work for you. Use me. 
Ask questions. Turn in rough 
drafts and I'll help you with 
them. Schedule meetings with 
me. I'm here for you.' " 

"Office hours are all the 
time" and "innovative" profes- 
sors "make tedious subjects 
seem fun and interesting." 

"The sciences are full of 
opportunities to work with high- 
tech instrumentation." 

"Sweet Briar women are 
really ambitious about their 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magozine Centennial Issue 

October 1 993: Dedications and Ne>v Additions 

The new Samuel E. Upchurch Wing of the Guion Science 
Center, the gift of Ann Samford 
Upchurch "48 and her children. Drs. 
Virginia Upchurch Collier "72, 
Katherine Upchurch Takvorian "72, 
and Samuel E. Upchurch. Jr.. was 
dedicated on Founders' Day. 
October 1. 1993. 

Top: The Samuel E. Upchurch Wing, Gulon Science Center 

Ann Upchurch's grandchildren unveil portrait of Samuel E. Upchurch 

Photos by David Abrams 

The new Boxwood Alumnae House was dedicated during 

Alumnae Council October 2. 1993. At last! The Alumnae 

Association and the alumnae office staff have a campus home in 

the beautifully restored Boxwood, known to generations of alum- 
nae, first as 

Boxwood Inn. 

then as Boxwood 

dormitory. The 

renovation was the 

anonymous gift of 

a devoted alumna. 

The Sweet Briar 

Museum moved 

to quaiters in the 

lower level of 


Alumnae House ^^^ Museum's 1 840s period parlor showcases 

Daisy's harp, original Sweet Briar plantation 
furniture, and a figure clothed in one of Miss 
Indie's early dresses 

Boxv/ood's lounge where a warm welcome awaits alumnae 

Photos by David Abrams 

Vixen (mascot) watches as 
Mollie Nelson cuts the rib- 
bon at dedication of new 
exercise equipment for 
Fitness Center 

Mollie Johnson Nelson '64: 
Survival Of The Fittest 

Mollie Johnson Nelson of Lookout Mountain, TN, a 
member of the College's Board of Directors, heard loud 
and clear from students involved in the strategic plan- 
ning effort in 1 998 that Sweet Briar needs more fitness 
equipment and facilities. 

"In the course of discussing what would make Sweet 
Briar more attractive and competitive with other 
schools," says Mollie, "students raised the need for exer- 
cise equipment. It was something they wanted right here 
and now. And I could do it. So I did." 

In the spring of 1999, she made an outright gift that lets 
students know how well she heard them: $225,000, of 
which $30,000 was directed toward the purchase and 
maintenance of seven new exercise stations for the 
College Fitness Center. Her gift directly addresses SBC's 
master plan by focusing on the athletic initiative, one of 
the cornerstones of the plan. 

Mollie also tied her gift further to students through the 
Senior Pledge Campaign, which seeks to raise $12,500 
in pledges from the Class of '99. Half of the Senior 
Campaign money goes to the Annual Fund; the other 
half will be used to establish an endowment for the 
upkeep, maintenance, and eventual replacement of the 
fitness equipment. Mollie promised to match the seniors' 
donations up to $25,000. 

"My generation did not participate in fitness per se. We 
had exercises and athletics, but not with the level of 
training that's required today. The current generation has 
a much greater, informed interest in health and fitness. 
They also come to Sweet Briar with more of a back- 
ground in organized sports and expectations to continue 
that interest here. I think Title IX had a lot to do with that 
and all I can say is: More power to Title IX!" 

March 2001 • 



Family Foundation's 

$5 Million Grant 

Celebrates Four 




weet Briar College received a 
$5 million grant from the Texas 
Perkins-Prothro Foundation for the 
construction of the new Campus Center, 
part of the College's master plan. It is the 
second largest grant to any institution from 
the foundation, "made from the good memories 
and love" the members of the family founda- 
tion have for Sweet Briar, said foundation 
president Joe Prothro. 



Hundreds of Sweet Briar Family members around the >vorld 
watched via an internet webcast as (l-r) Sara Finnegan Lycett '61 
Board chairman. Holly Prothro Philbin '95, and President 
Muhlenfeld broke ground on the new Student Commons in April 

Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

This is the most wonderful 
Christinas present Sweet 
Briar could ask for," 
President Muhlenfeld said when 
the letter announcing the grant 
arrived. "To say we are grateful 
does not begin to convey our 
feelings. We believe that this 
new project will have a transfor- 
mational effect on the College, 
exemplifying all that is distinc- 
tive about Sweet Briar as we 
move confidently into the future. 
To have such support from a 
family that has nurtured this col- 
lege for so many decades of the 
20th century is a particularly 
impressive and symbolic vote of 
confidence in the Sweet Briar of 
the 2 1 St century." 

The Perkins and Prothro 
families' "good memories and 
love" began 60 years ago and 
has spanned four generations of 
men and women of the Texas 
family. Elizabeth Perkins 
Prothro "39 (Mrs. Charies N. 
Prothro), her daughter Kathryn 
("Kay") Prothro Yeager '61, 
Kay's daughters, Kathryn 
Elizabeth Yeager Edwaids ' 84 
and Linda Yeager Beltchev '85, 
and Mark Prothro's daughter, 
Charlotte Holland ('•Holly") 
Prothro Philbin '95, span the 
generations of alumnae. 

Charles N. Prothro is a for- 
mer chairman of the Board of 
Directors; son Mark currently 
serves on the Board. 

Since Nancy Hall Green '64 
and her husband, Holcombe, 
made the first $5 million pledge 

in 1999, response from the 
Sweet Briar community had 
been generous. The grant from 
the Perkins-Prothro Foundation 
meant that we have pledges suf- 
ficient to proceed with plans for 

During the April 2000 Board 
meetings on campus, a dream 
came true; a Groundbreaking 
Ceremony took place for the 
new center. 

Gordon Beemer and President 
Muhlenfeld at the Dedication 

New Florence Elston Inn 
and Conference Center 
Dedicated October 26, 

The Elston-Beemer Tnist, 
the bequest of Florence Woelfel 
Elston-Beemer '21, which pro- 
vided funds for the original 
construction of the Elston Inn 
and a second wing, more 
recently provided funds to real- 

Model of the Florence Elston Inn and Conference Center complex 

ize Florence and Gordon 
Beemer's dream. 

This multimillion-dollar gift 
was given specifically to enable 
us to create a 38-room inn and a 
state-of-the-art conference facil- 
ity. The Inn and Conference 
Center complex provides the 
College with much-needed 
space for events, and allows us 
to host our own academic meet- 
ings and conferences, as well as 
non-college events. 

The faciUty will boost Sweet 
Briar's academic reputation and 
revenues — both important goals 
of the College. We are thrilled 
by this evidence of far-thinking 
commitment to the College 
through Florence's estate and 
Gordon's good stewardship. 

The addition to the Inn 
includes a new reception area, 
24-hour desk, a visitor informa- 
tion center, a lounge with fire- 
place, an entry courtyard, and a 
reception courtyard for open-air 

The Wailes Center, adjacent 
to the Inn, has been converted 
into a full-service Conference 
Center. Meeting rooms, 
equipped with a range of audio- 
visual and display equipment, 
direct internet access, and cable 

TV hookups, accommodate 12- 
70 people. The building has a 
reception area with outdoor 
spaces, a formal dining room, 
and a breakfast room serving 
both the Inn and Conference 

During the October 2000 
Board of Directors meetings, 
Gordon and many of his friends 
and family were here for the 
festive excitement of the dedi- 
cation of the Inn and 
Conference Center — truly a 
landmark event for Sweet Briar 

March 2001 • 


^mUA' the/ haJriU 9^ (^io- 

tie/nu9<:^u;iXu> pftsceM^, the/ 
'uaU' <s>^ taw, a/ruO cwiL 
Hi/^iit^y^s^ti^aXi9n/i' lAmdeH' 

"Technocracy in 
America 2000" 
Symposium and The 
Center for Civic 

"Technocracy in America 
2000: The Media's Impact on 
Presidential Politics" was the 
inaugural event for Sweet 
Briar's Center for Civic 
Renewal, October 13-14. 2000. 
Established in 1999, the Center 
is the College's response to 
rampant civic disengagement in 
the United States. Whether 
measured by low voter turnout, 
high levels of distrust in gov- 
eminent, deficiencies in civic 
education, general apathy 
toward public affairs, or 

Between sessions, l-r: Andrea Mitchell, Sandra Taylor '74, Daniel 

increasing social isolation, this 
alarming trend threatens the 
ability of American constitu- 
tional democracy to function 
effectively in the 21st century. 

The mission of the Center 
for Civic Renewal is to foster 
the habits of effective citizen 
engagement by promoting 
understanding of American 
civic society, especially demo- 
cratic procedure, the rule of 
law, and civil rights/obligations 
under our Constitution. 

"Technocracy" signifies the 
intersection of technology and 
democracy. "Technocracy in 
America 2000: The Media's 
Impact on Presidential Politics" 
explored the infiuence of tech- 
nology on presidential politics 
from the televised 
Nixon/Kennedy debates in 
1960, to Internet campaigning 
and fundraising in 2000. How 
have media revolutions changed 
how we vote, how we learn 
about candidates and their plat- 
fomis, and how we perceive 
political parties and their nomi- 

Jtist three weeks before 
Election Day 2000, Sweet Briar 
hosted an impressive array of 
speakers who have observed 
and made media history in 
political campaigns and who 
are now contributing to the 
landmark changes in American 
democracy and politics. 

Among the ten noted speak- 
ers and panelists were Ann 

Compton, former ABC White 
House correspondent, currently 
on; Lee 
Cullum "60, columnist, Dallas 
Morning News and frequent 
participant on PBS's "The 
NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"; 
John D. Evans, chair and CEO 
of Evans Telecommunications 
Co. and the John D. Evans 
Foundation and one of the co- 
founders of C-SPAN in 1977; 
and Daniel Schorr, who spent 
23 years with CBS, assisted in 
launching CNN and since 1985 
has been the senior news ana- 
lyst for National Public Radio. 

Andrea Mitchell, NBC polit- 
ical correspondent, host of 
MSNBC's "The Mitchell 
Report," and NBC chief foreign 
affairs correspondent, gave the 
keynote address. 

Moderators were Dr. 
Stephen Bragaw, SBC assistant 
professor of government and 
director of the Law and Society 
Program, and Dr. Barbara Perry, 
SBC's Carter Glass Professor of 
Government and director of the 
Center for Civic Renewal. 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Ne>v National Survey 
Shovy^s Sv/eet Briar 
College Scores High in 
Providing a Highly 
Effective Education 

The National Survey of 
Student Engagement (NSSE) 
named Sweet Briar College as 
one of only four colleges and 
universities scoring in the top 
20 percent on all five national 
benchmarks of student engage- 
ment (November 13, 2000). 

The NSSE is designed to 
focus on key indicators of edu- 
cational effectiveness. It has 
created national benchmarks 
for: level of academic chal- 
lenge; active and collaborative 
learning; student interaction 
with faculty members; enrich- 
ing educational experiences; 
and supportive campus environ- 
ment. All of these factors have 
been shown by research to 
enhance student learning. 

"This study highlights what 
we are most proud of at Sweet 
Briai- — our commitment to 
actual student learning." said 
President Muhlenfeld. "The 
keys are high expectations, 
insistence on quality, and most 
important, real interaction 
between students, faculty, and 
staff. The result is a college 
where confident women invest 
themselves in learning." 

Among the 276 colleges and 
universities participating in the 
survey. Sweet Briar had the 
highest score for student inter- 


Svy^eet Briar Ranked the "Most Wired" Women's College in America on 
Annual Technology Survey 

According to Yahoo! Internet Life magazine's "America's 100 Most Wired Colleges," 
Sweet Briar College is No. 1 among women's colleges in America. 

The 2000 edition of the annual survey also named the college as the sixth most wired 
baccalaureate college in the nation. 

"As we prepare women to be active leaders in the 21 ^' century, our commitment to 
technology is o high priority," said President Muhlenfeld. "We are pleased to be recog- 
nized as one of the most wired campuses in America." 

Criteria for the rankings were separated into four general categories: the administrative 
services provided by the college to the students; support services for the students; 
access to the Internet, to new equipment, and within the classrooms and dorms; and 
general resources available to the students. 

The magazine considered 40 factors in determining the rankings. 

Sweet Briar scored high in many of the categories. One hundred percent of the class- 
rooms, dorm rooms and faculty offices are wired to the 
campus's fiber-optic network. 

Also, the College gives students unlimited storage 
space on the web and on the netv\/ork. Students with lap- 
tops can plug into the network anywhere on campus, 
even in the library stacks. 

Sweet Briar faculty hove been pioneers in the use 
of Internet and other technologies in the classroom, 
utilizing Web sites as textbooks, e-mail discussion 
groups, remote webcasts and electronic submission 
of papers. 

This is Sweet Briar's third year in the top 100. 

action with faculty during the 
senior year. 

The NSSE created a way to 
estimate collegiate quality that 
focuses on actual student learn- 
ing. This is a different approach 
from that used by most college 
ranking guides, like U.S. News 
and World Repoif. 

"For years, judgments about 
the quality of colleges and uni- 
versities have turned on evi- 
dence about the resources insti- 
tutions have assembled and the 
reputations those institutions 
enjoy," said Russell Edgerton, 
director of the Pew Forum on 
Undergraduate Learning. "The 
NSSE 2000 Report reveals 

whether and how 
institutions are 
actually using 
their resources 
to provide deep, 
meaningful learning 
experiences as reported by the 
students themselves." 

Sweet Briar, recently ranked 
as the "most wired women's 
college in America" by Yahoo! 
Internet Life magazine, opted 
for students to complete the sur- 
vey in its Web-based format and 
had a 61 percent response rate. 

The other colleges identified 
as highly engaging include 
Beloit, Centre, and Elon. 

March 2001 • 


Michela English '71: 
Chairman of the Board, 
S>veet Briar College 

President, Discovery 
Consumer Products, 
Communications, Inc. 

Michela English is the sec- 
ond woman and second alumna 
to be elected chairman of the 
Sweet Briar College Board of 
Directors, succeeding Sara 
Finnegan Lycett '61 on July 1. 
2000. She began service on the 
Board in 1994. 

Head of the judicial board 
and an international affairs 
major at SBC. she earned a 
Master of Public and Private 
Management from Yale 
University's School of 
Management in 1979. 

As president. Di.scovery 
Consumer Products, Michela 
heads DCI's fast-growing con- 
sumer and educational business- 
es, which offer a broad array of 
products to consumers world- 
wide, through Discovery-brand- 
ed retail stores, online shopping, 
mail-order catalogs, educational 

institutions and strategic third- 
party retail partners. 

Since March 1996. she has 
held the positions of president. 
Discovery Enterprises 
Worldwide, and president. launching and 
rapidly developing new initia- 
ii\'es that build upon and 
enhance Discovery's television 
brands and consumer relation- 
ships. She has overseen the 
development of: Discovery's 
highly trafficked, award- 
winning web sites, featuring 
deep content and services relat- 
ed to Discovery's television 
networks: a nationwide chain of 
160 retail stores including 
Discovery Channel Stores and 
The Nature Company: a broad 
selection of consumer products, 
including videos, books, and a 
growing assortment of items for 
the whole family, distributed 
globally; and a K-12 education 
business that brings high- 
quality supplementary media in 
multiple formats (videos. CD- 
ROMs, print and online) to 
classroom teachers and their 

Michela previously served 
as senior vice president of the 
National Geographic Society, 
where she was responsible for 
marketing, book publishing. 
Traveler magazine. World mag- 
azine for children, educational 
media and international pub- 
lishing. She spearheaded the 
1 995 launch of National 
Geographic magazine in the 

Japanese language, the publica- 
tion's first-ever non-English 
edition. She was a member of 
the Society's Board of Trustees 
and Education Foundation 

Prior to her tenure at the 
National Geographic Society, 
Michela served as a consultant 
for such clients as Maniott 
Corporation and MCI. She had 
also been vice president, corpo- 
rate planning and business 
development for Marriott 
Corporation. Prior to Marriott, 
she worked as senior engage- 
ment manager for the interna- 
tional consulting firm 
McKinsey & Company, helping 
top management in major 
media and diversified compa- 
nies design and implement 
strategic plans, improvements 
in operations, and organization- 
al changes. 

Michela is active within the 
volunteer, nonprofit, and corpo- 
rate communities. She has 
served as director of Riggs 
National Corporation. 
Washington. DC: director of 
Windsor Pet Care, Inc., 
Hasbrouk Heights, NJ: trustee 
of the Supreme Court Historical 
Society: member of the Yale 
School of Management 
Advisory Board: and director of 
the Potomac Know ledge Way. 
Currently she is a director of 
the NEA Foundation for the 
Improvement of Education and 
the Educational Testing Service 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Eleven Years and Two 
Presidents Later, SBC's 
"Interim" Dean 
Prepares to Return to 
the Classroom 
By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

In 1989, Dr. George Lenz. 
Sweet Briar's Whitney Guion 
Professor of Physics, agreed to 
serve as a one-year interim dean 
of the College, smoothing the 
transition between retiring pres- 
ident Nenah E. Fry and her suc- 
cessor Dr Barbara Ann Hill. In 
2002. after a long overdue sab- 
batical, he will return full-time 
to the classroom, where he 
intends to stay put for the rest 
of his career. 

Reviewing the tremendous 
strides the College made during 
the last decade of the 20th cen- 
tury, it is easy to see how- 
George's "interim" position 
lasted eleven years. The way he 
describes it. SBC had "too 
many irons in the tire" when he 
officially entered the Dean's 
Office in 1990. In the midst of a 
capital campaign and a strategic 
planning process, with a 
Southern Association of 
Colleges (SACS) reaccredita- 
tion pending, he felt compelled 
to remain on board through 
President Hill's tenure. "Then," 
laughs George, "President 
Muhlenfeld arrived and practi- 
cally the same thing happened. 
The College needed someone to 
bridge the transition." 

Dean Lenz did much more 

than "bridge transitions" during 
a decade of dynamic decision 
making and bold improve- 
ments. Under his leadership. 
Sweet Briar dramatically 
enhanced the quality of its sci- 
ence programs and developed a 
vigorous Honors Program. The 
College's strategic planning 
efforts resulted in the strength- 
ening of traditional offerings 
and the implementation of new- 
initiatives like The Center for 
Civic Renewal and the 
Environmental Program. The 
outstanding talent and qualifica- 
tions of the faculty hired during 
Dean Lenz's tenure ensure that 
the College's classrooms will 
remain challenging and respon- 
sive well into the 2 1 st century. 

"We've made some very 
positive changes in recent 
years," says George. "If I had to 
tick them off, I'd say the sci- 
ence initiative did a great deal 
for the College, especially in 

terms of attracting exceptionally 
bright women to Sweet Briar. 
E\-en if they decide to switch 
their academic focus later on, 
they end up making dam good 
classicists. Unguists, writers — or 
whatever direction they choose. 

"TTie technology initiative." 
continues George, "has given us 
the distinction of being the 
"most wired' women's college 
in the country and sixth overall 
on a list that includes some 
hefty competition. And it's not 
only the infrastructure but how 
we're using technology in the 
classroom that produces such 
high marks. We got in front of 
the issue early on. Now other 
institutions are spending a lot 
more just trying to catch up to 

"In addition to emphasizing 
skills and real world experi- 
ences. Sweet Briar's new 
General Education Program 
encourages students to be 

hoA' i^em/ M- 1% eU/iU/nO- 

winiiC w(ymi/n!^ oMfy/ wv 
the/ cwMi^My a/rui/ wdfv 

»ve^iall »^ 0/ liM' thcit^ 

(yrvUi/ the/ OnpioAt'UACtiAHe/ 
i^id' fv»w weh(/ iAM/n^ twh- 
thaP pnMiAU^ iiMJv h^ 
mank^. We/ '^ im/ ^ft^ni/ 
«>f tht' iMM/ taM/i^ ism/. 

c^iC/ ipencUmA' 0/ Isi' rrtjsHe/ 
jn^ tMwn^ t6^ caXdv Mp 

— ^e/9>u^ Un/T- 

March 2001 • 


Sweet Briar College 
and the Peace Corps 

I A total of 37 SBC alum- 
nae in the 39 years 

. since 1961 have served 
overseas in 30 countries 
OS Peace Corps 

Adair Collins, Class of 
1 1998 (Richmond, VA), 
an English major, history 
minor, is currently volun- 
teering in Bulgaria. 

Adair Collins 

reflective about their educa- 
tions, wtiicti is really 'cutting 
edge.' The Honors Program 
provides an 'escape hatch," giv- 
ing students the opportunity to 
pursue their interests in depth 
and oiTering more of a graduate 
school type of research experi- 

"These are a few of the 
changes that stand out when 
you're looking toward the 
future, thinking: What are 
young women going to need 

when they leave this place? The 
community had a lot of ideas 
that came to closure in the 
nineties. The College is well 
thought of in national circles. 
Last fall, the National Survey of 
Student Engagement funded by 
the Pew Charitable Trust ranked 
us among the four top colleges 
in the country for good educa- 
tional practices." 

As another measure of 
Sweet Briar's success. Dean 
Lenz offers a glimpse at class 
enrollments. "We keep adding 
sections in English and creative 
writing," he reports. 
"Government enrollments are 
up. Psychology is up. These are 
some of the things that help to 
indicate the quality of the insti- 
tution. Professor Jim Kirkwood 
has 1 7 students in advanced cal- 
culus. Historically, eight to nine 
percent of our students have a 
math-related major. That's phe- 
nomenal. That's three times the 
national average, so you know 
we're doing a lot of things 
right. We're having terrific suc- 
cess getting our students out 
into good jobs and respected 
graduate programs." 

Dean Lenz joined the faculty 
in 1971. For 19 years, he taught 
"across the undergraduate spec- 
trum," covering physics, engi- 
neering, earth science, meteor- 
ology, and environmental sci- 
ence. In 1989, his colleagues 
convinced him to toss his name 
in the hat for interim dean, a 
choice he has never regretted. 

"In 1989-1990. we were 
having an enrollment problem. 
Not a crisLs — but it could have 
become serious. The Board, 
under the leadership of Walter 
Brown, elected to maintain 
standards while the administra- 
tion worked to turn things 
around. It was a critical deci- 
sion that took considerable 
courage. And it was the right 
decision. An extensive survey 
done later in the 1990s con- 
firmed what we all know to be 
true, that nationally recognized 
academic quality and close 
interactions with faculty are 
among the top reasons young 
women chose Sweet Briar. 
Without these two important 
criteria, we might as well close 
our doors. 

"I feel really good about 
where we are right now. I'd put 
our best up against the best any- 
where. We're in a unique posi- 
tion to make what a physicist 
would call 'an impedance 
match to the future.' That is, tai- 
loring our education to ensure 
that our students have the skills 
they need to succeed in the 

"Everything I've seen sug- 
gests that facts are relatively 
worthless. It's quality of 
mind — the ability to solve a 
problem or research an issue — 
that's important. Sweet Briar 
develops those highly transfer- 
able skills. And it's all to the 


A Resource That Cannot 
Be Replaced: Chaplain 
Lehman Retires in 2001 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

Sweet Briar's centennial 
year marks the retirement of the 
College's beloved and admired 
chaplain, Susan C. Lehman. 

From Susan's perspective, 
with so many of the causes she 
championed now firmly rooted 
in SBC's curricular and co- 
curricular programming, the 
end of the 2000-2001 academic 
year seems like an ideal time to 
step down. Valdrie Walker, dean 
of co-curricular life, argues oth- 
erwise, saying, "Every day I ask 
Susan what I can do to change 
her mind, to put off retiring for 
just one more year. She has a 
gift for helping people — stu- 
dents, faculty, and staff — live 
and work comfortably together 
in a close environment. I wish I 
could think of some way to 
keep her here." 

The challenges, goals, and 
successes that defined Susan's 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

Susan Lehman 

16-year chaplaincy highlight 
her marvelous ability to serve 
the community on all fronts. 

For example, long before the 
Honors Program began featur- 
ing a whole series of extracur- 
ricular activities, Susan was 
hosting faculty-student presen- 
tations, lectures, and discus- 
sions in her home. 

Until the College appointed 
a director of international stud- 
ies, it was Susan who uncov- 
ered and tended to the special 
needs of Sweet Briar's interna- 
tional students, as well as 
encouraging students to travel 
and welcoming seniors return- 
ing from Junior Year Abroad 

Full-time mental health 
counseling became a reality 
after Susan spotted the need for 
more services. 

Before the self-assessment 
component of the College's 
new General Education 
Program required students to 
reflect on their educational 
goals and personal develop- 
ment, Susan guided seniors 
though a series of meetings and 
exercises aimed at reaching a 
similar goal. 

"Susan," says Melissa 
Henning '99, "identified the 
need for self-evaluation and 
was doing it on her own prior to 
the General Education Program. 
My class wrote in journals and 
participated in thoughtful dis- 
cussions, looking back over our 
College experiences and talking 

about how much we'd learned 
in four yeais. She taught ine the 
value of taking stock before 
moving on to something new. 
And it's something I expect to 
do again and again as I change 
jobs or make other important 

Susan was in her third and 
final year at the University of 
Chicago Divinity School when 
the late Sweet Briar Chaplain 
Myron "Mike" Bloy inter- 
viewed her for a sabbatical 
replacement position. Not long 
afterward, in January 1985, 
Chaplain Bloy suddenly died, 
seated in an armchair reading a 
book, while waiting to deliver a 
paper at a conference in 
Washington, D.C. 

"In the Episcopal church," 
says Susan, "an evaluation of 
the 20th century would place 
Mike Bloy in a central, leader- 
ship role in college chaplaincy. 
He started a very important 
journal called Religion and 
Inlellectiial Life right here in 
the chaplain's house. He and I 
could not have been more dif- 
ferent and we knew that as we 
talked. We went to dinner and 
had a wonderful time. 

"Mike was a scholar. I'm a 

very 'hands-on' person. I under- 
stand my work as a companion. 
It is my job to figure out how I 
can make myself available to 
570 students, plus alumnae, fac- 
ulty, and staff. That's how I've 
given shape to my office." 

Susan's "hands-on" style has 
included buying assorted yard- 
sale china, which she allows 
people to therapeutically smash 
in her basement. 

"The plate throwing hasn't 
happened as often as is 
rumored," explains Dr. Alix 
Ingber, professor of Spanish 
and associate dean of academic 
affairs. "It's an occasional, con- 
trolled event. Susan gets people 
to talk, to discover who they're 
angry at and why. 

"She has a remarkable 
understanding of what students 
need in the most immediate 
sense," continues Alix. "She 
cooks for people, drives them to 
the doctor, brings them together 
over books and current events. 
She has made a major contribu- 
tion to intellectual life on cam- 
pus and inspired students to 
become involved in community 
service. She is a resource that 
cannot be replaced." 

OMt^ mf.tMMUM am4/ 

i^eaM: /$(%& toM^^ -mi/ thX/ 

(re.^^'K/ rrvisvuinA' 9^^ to- 
i»yniMu/ru^ new. ^iruOi^ 
'ii^ymiXhUM^ ( e/cpect^ ts' ui^- 

March 2001 • 


Jennifer Crispen coaches the 
fencing team which placed 
second in Virginia in 2001. 

Body, Mind, and Spirit: 
The '70s Revival oif 
Athletics at SBC Lasts 
into the New Century 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams "86 

Indiana Fletcher's vision of 
a "sound education" for young 
women included three classic 
components: body. mind, and 
spirit. However, throughout the 
20th century, the role of physi- 
cal education and athletics in 
women's education was the 
subject of considerable debate. 
Not until the passage of Title IX 
in 1972 were coed institutions 
forced to consider creating 
equal opportunities for women 
in sports. Even then, substantial 
changes would take decades to 

Sweet Briar's responses to 
shifting attitudes toward 
women's physical education 
and athletics have never consis- 
tently correlated with national 
trends. In the 1970s, the 
College was moving slightly in 
advance of the Title IX upturn. 
When President Harold B. 
Whiteman assumed office in 
1971, the former Yale 
University Varsity football cap- 
tain helped to bring competitive 
sports back into vogue. 

Sweet Briar historian Ann 
Marshall Whitley '47 noticed 

the difference immediately. Her 
daughter, Libby "75, a first-year 
student, phoned home to report 
that she had been out jogging 
with the president's wife. 
Deedie. Both Whitemans 
played tennis and were plan- 
ning to build a paddle court 
behind Sweet Briar House. Ann 
could not believe what she was 
hearing. It was, she thought, the 
start of the revitalization of ath- 
letics at Sweet Briar. She was 

The Whiteman years pro- 
duced the Prothro Natatorium, 
four new tennis courts, a 
Parcourse Fitness Circuit, and a 
weight room. Volleyball, swim- 
ming, and soccer were added to 
SBC's offerings and intercolle- 
giate competitions were 
increased. The Sweet Briar 
Outdoor Program (SWEBOP) 
was created and the Outing 
Cabin was restored. 

The cornerstone for the new 
swimming pool, the Prothro 
Natatorium. was set in 1976. 

Peter V. Daniel. SBC vice presi- 
dent and treasurer, chaired the 
committee that oversaw its 
design and construction. It was 
a choice assignment for the for- 
mer Dartmouth and University 
of Virginia champion diver. 

"Other small schools in the 
area had swimming and diving 
programs." explains Peter. 
"And here was Sweet Briar, a 
very prestigious college, with- 
out a pool. The gymnasium was 
built to accommodate an exten- 
sion: tabs on the west end indi- 
cated a future wing. When 
Harold Whiteman arrived, he 
gave the project a boost." 

Bonnie Jackson Kestner. 
associate professor of physical 
education and athletics, arrived 
just after the Prothro 
Natatorium was completed in 
1977. She asked Peter to coach 
the diving team while she 
organized the swimmers. It was 
a winning combination. "We 
began knocking off the compe- 
tition." recalls Peter, "taking 
first and second at every meet. 
By 1980. senior art major Jill 
Steenhuis '80 was state regional 
diving champion." 

Bonnie, who arrived fresh 


from an assistant coaching posi- 
tion at Yale, knew that Sweet 
Briar had some serious catching 
up to do. "I challenged the team 
that first year." she remembers. 
"I said, what I've heard about 
Sweet Briar athletics is that stu- 
dents are reluctant to make a 
serious commitment to sports. 
We need to prove that things 
can change. The swim team 
responded by winning the state 
small-college championship in 
its first year. 

"Those students made 
incredible sacrifices. There was 
no heat in the pool water that 
year An air tunnel surrounding 
the pool was theoretically sup- 
posed to warm the water, saving 
the College the additional 
expense. Those dedicated 
swimmers swam double prac- 
tices in January, in water tem- 
peratures ranging from the mid 
to low seventies." 

Jennifer Crossland "86 made 
the nationals her freshman year, 
taking second place in the 50 
yard breaststroke. "The swim 
team was fabulous," says 
Jennifer "We won the ODAC 
championship every year 
before, during, and after the 
time I was at Sweet Briar. I 
think that's an amazing record 
for a school that does not offer 
athletic scholarships. Students 
had nothing to gain but the 
camaraderie and the thrill of 

Jennifer Crispen. associate 
professor of physical education 

and athletics, is quick to point 
out that the initial plans for the 
Daisy Williams gymnasium 
included a pool. "My under- 
standing is," she says, "that it 
was pared off of the building 
plan when the stock market 
crashed and pledges could not 
be fulfilled. In retrospect, it was 
for the best because we would 
have ended up with a bathtub in 
comparison to what we have 

"Though it seems like Sweet 
Briar came late to swimming in 
the 1970s, we actually entered 
the sport sooner and with better 
facilities than other women's 
colleges in Virginia. At the 
same time, don't forget, our 
indoor riding center was better 
than anything in the country." 

Jennifer started coaching 
field hockey and lacrosse in 
1977, when SBC was still in a 
period she describes as the post- 
Vietnam "strike doldrums." 

"We were still hngering in 
the protest era," recalls Jennifer. 
"Competitive sports were not 
popular; they had no status. The 
field hockey and lacrosse teams 
had no uniforms. There was 
nowhere to go but up." 

SBC's field hockey and 
lacrosse teams went "up" in 
record time, producing single 
and two-sport All-Americans 
throughout the 1980s. Mary 
Blair Farinholt '86, a four-time 
Ail-American, was written up 
in Sports Illustrated 's "Faces in 
the Crowd" section. Katie 

Heam '85. a two-time Ail- 
American, still holds the 
Division III points-per-game 
record in lacrosse. 

Paul Cronin. professor of 
physical education and athletics 
and director of the riding pro- 
gram, came to campus in 1967. 
"During that period," he says, 
"athletics were not 'in." The 
focus was on physical educa- 
tion, the development of the 
individual — personal bests. 
There was not a lot of interest 
in having crackerjack varsity 
teams, though we still had win- 
ning seasons in some sports. 

"A shift took place during 
the Whiteman administration," 
Paul continues. "More students 
wanted to compete and 
President Whiteman was very 
supportive. It was a good com- 
bination. But it involved a 

"In the late "60s and early 
'70s, the outdoor program was 
located in the physical educa- 
tion department. Our hiking, 
camping, and boating courses 
were high quality and very pop- 
ular. The Outing Cabin and 
trails were heavily used. The 

6-K^ lAfi/." 

March 2001 • \AnAV/.alumnae.sbc.eclu 


dMni thx/ de^oM' (9ve^ the/ 
K»le/ 9^ pA/i^M^al ttiiMu:t/- 
tC9r\/ a/ruC uUdeXvOi' iru 
lAf»nne/n^ ediMU;tii9^n/. fhi/H' 
wa/nt" the/ 9pXism/ to- e/xcd^ 

Boat House was filled with 
canoes. However, we only had 
so much money to go around. 
When our students and the 
whole world began to demand 
more of women's athletics, we 
left behind the use of the land. 
Bob Barlow, then dean of stu- 
dent affairs, started SWEBOP 
in the late 1970s to help fill the 
gap created when the physical 
education department moved 
toward competitive sports and 
pressed to upgrade those offer- 
ings and facilities." 

Kay Macdonald retired in 
1983 after teaching and coach- 
ing for 35 years in the Physical 
Education Department. Her 
long view tends to smooth the 
surges and dips that can occur 
in any given decade. When she 
arrived in 1944, SBC's compet- 
itive spirit surprised her. 

"In the north," says Kay, 
"competitive sports were not 
considered very ladylike. 
Women were not supposed to 
be interested in athletics. But 
the people in Virginia seemed to 
have other ideas. Sports on 
campus were going strong in 
the '40s and had been for some 
time. Harriet Rogers, the direc- 
tor, concentrated not only on 
highly skilled students, she 

wanted a comprehensive pro- 
gram for non-athletes as well. 
Outdoor recreation was part of 
the picture. The Outing Cabin 
was here when I arrived and we 
had a lot of fun on the lake. 

"You have to work at main- 
taining a balance," advises Kay. 
"No matter what a student's 
ability, she should have some 
way to stay fit. Some choose 
sports, others prefer noncom- 
petitive activities." 

The strides the College made 
during the Whiteman years 
began to shp in the late 1980s 
when coed colleges, under the 
Title IX mandate, began fully 
funding women's athletic pro- 
grams, including athletic schol- 
arships at the Division I and II 
levels. While this gave a 
tremendous boost to women's 
athletic programs at coed insti- 
tutions, those at women's col- 
leges fell seriously behind. At 
the same time, SBC's outdoor, 
fitness and health, and recre- 
ation programs were undergo- 
ing a substantial revival. By the 
year 2000, both trends con- 
verged in Sweet Briar's 
Athletics Initiative. Instead of 
concentrating on upgrading one 
area like team sports or person- 
al fitness, the College intends to 

build and equip a new field 
house. The addition on the 
south side of the Williams Gym 
will support the community's 
needs on all fronts. 

Milly MacDonell was 
recently hired to oversee the 
integration of facilities and 
coordinate programming. Her 
title is telling of what the 
College is attempting to accom- 
plish in the decade ahead. Milly 
is Chair of the Department of 
Physical Education, Recreation, 

Professor Mark Magruder with 

and Athletics, and Director of 
Athletics at Sweet Briar. "I'm 
excited about the opportunities 
that Sweet Briar College will be 
able to offer in the future," says 
Milly. "We're all looking for- 
ward to it. Whether we're talk- 
ing about health and wellness or 
varsity sports, everyone in the 
department will be working 
toward the same goal. That is, 
making sure our students have 
the best we can possibly offer," 
At the start of the 21st centu- 
ry. Sweet Briar students seem to 
have closed the debate over the 
role of physical education and 
athletics in women's education. 
They want the option to excel at 



Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue 

/Sn/ee^ /Jte^i f 04^ U- the, lp%€4erU^ 

By Mary Molyneux Abrams '86 

Dorothy Jones Sales' 
long-standing connec- 
tion to the College is 
rivaled perhaps only by that of 
the founding family. 

She was bom on May 15, 
1 924 in the former slave cabin 
behind Sweet Briar House (now 
the Farm Tools Museum). Her 
father. Sterling Jones, helped 
fire the bricks for the original 
four Cram buildings. When 
Sweet Briar opened in 1 906, he 
joined the staff and stayed with 
the College until his retirement 
in 1959. Dorothy's mother, 
Aurelia, raised six children 
while also working on campus. 
She retired with over 50 years 
of service. At one time, all eight 
Joneses were simultaneously 
employed by the College. 

Four months after Dorothy 
was bom. Sterling and Aurelia 
moved from the cabin into a 
house on Coolwell Road. From 
then on. Sterling — and eventu- 
ally his wife and children as 
well — rose at 5:30 a.m. to begin 
the 3 1/2 mile walk to work. 

Dorothy spent her summers 
at Sweet Briar and began work- 
ing at the age of twelve. Her 
first summer job consisted of 
washing bottles in the lab for 
one of her favorite professors. 
Jane Belcher. By the age of fif- 
teen she was working for 
Professor Belle Boone Beard, 
starting a relationship that 
would last for the next 32 years. 
She also helped Margaret 
Banister in the public relations 

office, worked part-time in the 
laundry, and waited tables at the 
Boxwood Inn. 

Early one winter morning, 
trailing behind their father on 
the walk to Sweet Briar, 
Dorothy and her older sister 
Louise encountered a ghost 
near the railroad tracks. The 
apparition, a neatly-dressed 
man, came straight toward them 
and disappeared. Dorothy quali- 
fies the experience saying, 
"Daddy's generation told ghost 
stories. Sitting around at night, 
they told tales that scared me to 
death. They saw white horses — 
ghosts — crossing the roads. 
They heard and saw dead peo- 
ple moving around. I was afraid 
to go to bed when I was little. I 
believed the stories back then. I 
don't pay attention to them any- 
more. My children, the younger 
generation, don't believe." 

Dorothy remembers helping 
her parents clean Academic 
(now Benedict). "My father 
kept on our heels," she laughs. 
"We all got it — the grandchil- 
dren, too. He was going to do 
his work. He'd say, 'Do right 
and right will follow you.' 

"Daddy was sweet and 
respectful," continues Dorothy. 
"Dr. Whiteman reminded me of 
my father. He carried himself 
the same way. He did just like 
Daddy; both men would bow 
before they spoke to some- 
one — and they would always 
stop to greet people." 

Sterling Jones died in 1959 

Dorothy Sales and Amalia De Simone '94 at Boat House party in 
Dorothy's honor 

at the age of 84. He was show- 
ing the symptoms of 
Alzheimer's and the extended 
Jones family, still clustered in 
Coolwell, supported each other, 
managing his care. One late 
afternoon, Steriing took a walk 
in the direction of a neighbor 
who was out cutting wood. 
"That was a Wednesday," says 
Dorothy. "It was the last we 
saw of him until they found 
him dead on Sunday morning. 
Hundreds of people were look- 
ing for him. It had snowed on 
Thursday and covered him up. 

"I went to the campus. I went 
through every crack in Benedict 
trying to find him. When the 
snow melted and they found 
him, that's the way he was 
going. He was going to cross 
that raikoad track and head 
down the hiU. He was trying to 
find his way back to Sweet 
Briar. He loved Sweet Briar." 

/^h»fy," Hdtm/HoMiM/. 

hcuC the/ sfif'S'itiAmAXwi' 
UuU' ws/fne/rv h/wc/ toita/u/, 
^ CwaU/ (viw(/ chM(M/ 

March 2001 • www.alumnae.sbc. edu 



By 1945, Dorothy was 
working as a full-time member 
of the buildings and grounds 
staff. Her dizzying daily sched- 
ule eventually covered the 
alumnae office, the Book Shop, 
Retcher. and Babcock. During 
her lunch breaks, she would lis- 
ten in on classes. Her favorite 
was anthropology. "That would 
have been my main choice," 
says Dorothy. "I wish I had 
taken advantage of more of it. 
But I started having children at 
an early age. at nineteen years 
old. I had three boys and 
they've grown to be good 

Though Dorothy spent only 
one quarter of her workday in 
the Book Shop, it was ample 
time for the manager. Helen 
McMahon "23. to spot her 
potential. Dorothy began giving 
the Book Shop more of her 
time, training under Miss 
Winnie Walker. "I handled the 
books so much." recalls 
Dorothy, "putting them up all 
summer and cleaning them, that 
I knew where to find eveiy 

Dorothy began working full- 
time at the Book Shop in the 
early 1960s. "Her greatest con- 
tribution to Sweet Briar College 
came during those years." says 
Rebecca Page Baker "94, a co- 
worker and Turning Point alum- 
na. "She could carry on conver- 

sations with all professors, staff, 
and students, delighting them 
with her wisdom and warm 
sense of humor" Roscoe Fitts. 
manager of the Book Shop 
since 1973, notes that 
"Returning alumnae would 
always ask for Dorothy." 

In 1988, the Virginia College 
Store Association named 
Dorothy "Employee of the 
Year." Helen McMahon, man- 
ager from 1947 to 1971, attend- 
ed the award presentation. 
"Dorothy learned to do every- 
thing in the Book Shop," Helen 
recalled. "Those were the days 
when duties were not so com- 
pletely outlined. She was quick, 
tireless, and good-natured. If 
she had had the opportunities 
that women have today, she 
could have cho.sen any career" 

Dorothy retired in May 1994 
at the age of 69. after 48 years 
of official service. Six months 
earlier, in a surprise celebration 
at the Boat House, she was 
made an honorary member of 
the Class of 1994. The seniors 
gave Dorothy a robe decorated 
with buttons and pink paint. 
The faculty also honored her. At 
a senior class meeting on 
March 28, Professor Gregory 
Armstrong presented Dorothy 
with a 1994 class ring. On May 
3, during a recognition picnic, 
she was crowned May Queen. 
"I was partying all the time that 

Dorothy Soles in front of 
the former slave cobin in 
which she was born. 

spring," says Dorothy. "It was 
big stuff. I couldn't calm down. 
It wore me out!" 

Gardening helped Dorothy 
ease into retirement. While her 
husband George was alive, they 
enjoyed the freedom of travel- 
ing together. Her three sons live 
nearby, one just down the road 
from her home. She visits 
Sweet Briar often, attended the 
Class of I994's 5th Reunion in 
1999, and looks forward to the 
10th in 2004. 

On Dorothy's dining room 
table sits a scrapbook of photo- 
graphs, citations, and letters 
from people like President 
Whiteman, Elizabeth Sprague, 
Gertrude Prior, Peter and Lydia 
Daniel, Ruby Cash, Ann 
Morrison Reams '42, Jocelyn 
Palmer Conners '62. leke 
Osinga '78, and Fay Powell 
Smith '82 to name just a few. 

Toni Nelson, wife of the late 
Professor Lawrence Nelson, 
writes. "Students, faculty, and 
presidents have come and 
gone... but Dorothy has 
remained constant." Ann 
Marshall Whitley '47, curator 
of the Sweet Briar Museum, 
adds. "Her connections go back 
beyond memory to a time 
before Sweet Briar College was 
founded. ..Now she is a real 
Rosam Quae Meruit Ferat." 


Sweet Briar College Alumnae Magazine Centennial Issue